#MyWeeklyGems 20 - Obama - Create Change - Fear - Neil Strauss

Posted Jan 13, 2017 by Mathieu Chiasson

Last fall I’ve set this article aside to read later. I only read it this week and loved the content so much that I’m focusing all this week’s newsletter on it. It goes perfectly hand-in-hand with this week’s quote from former US President Obama.

You’ll see references to the US election. Now knowing the result of the election, the article is that much more valuable.

Quote of the Week

“I want you to believe, not in my ability to create change, but in yours” - Barack Obama

Article of the week

Why We’re Living In The Age Of Fear

In this Rolling Stone article Neil Strauss describes in detail the cause for today’s high level of anxieties despite living in the safest time in human kind’s history.

It’s a long article well worth reading. Here’s a few snippets I found interesting...

But far more prolific [than murder threats], and thus even less news-worthy, are the 117 suicides in the U.S. each day (in comparison with 43 murders), the 129 deaths from accidental drug overdoses, and the 96 people dying a day in automobile accidents (27 of whom aren't wearing seat belts, not to mention the unspecified amount driving distracted). Add to these the 1,315 deaths each day due to smoking, the 890 related to obesity, and all the other preventable deaths from strokes, heart attacks and liver disease, and the message is clear: The biggest thing you have to fear is not a terrorist or a shooter or a deadly home invasion. You are the biggest threat to your own safety.

It would make logical sense, then, that if Americans were really choosing politicians based on their own safety, they would vote for a candidate who stresses seat-belt campaigns, programs for psychological health to decrease suicide, and ways to reduce smoking, obesity, prescription-pill abuse, alcoholism, flu contagion and hospital-acquired infections.

But our fears are not logical.

Of course, rather than grasping for control and certainty, one could, as University of Pittsburgh sociologist Kerr puts it, "learn to have a degree of acceptance around uncertainty and ambiguity, learn to feel comfortable with change, and seek to understand things you may be afraid of rather than withdrawing from them.”

The fact is: Anything can happen in the future. For some people, that's exciting. For others, that's scary. And even if both kinds of people are working toward a better world tomorrow, only one of them gets to be happy today.

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