Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The Only Thing We Have to Fear is Fear Itself

Last semester I took Computational Biology. The class included a final project. I'm not a fan of projects, especially open-ended ones dealing with subject matter I am unfamiliar with. This project fit the bill. I worried for weeks about what I was going to do. I fretted over my lack of research experience, after all, everyone else in the class seemed to have worked for a biotech company last year. I worried about deciding to do a project for someone but then having them expect things beyond my ability. Once I finally decided on a topic, dread lingered in the air. I didn't know how long it would take, if it would be good enough, if I was in over my head, if it'd be too easy. And then I did it.

It took me a few weeks and some long days, but I got it done and got a good grade. I wouldn't say the experience was something I would scrapbook or click my heels and think about. But it didn't kill me and life went on. When I think back on the experience, I still feel a little stress. But it isn't from how hard the project was or how long it took. It is stress from worrying about it.

If stress had units and I could measure it, I'm sure I suffered 2 times more from dreading the project than executing it.

Over a year ago a girl I was dating me broke up with me, not because of any problems we'd had together, but problems that she could foresee. Or at least she thought she foresaw. Life went on, I moved on, but it still seemed like a somewhat senseless, preemptive strike into thin air.

The play of life was written with Fear as a supporting character. It has a bit part that sometimes shapes the action. But too often we let Fear rush the stage in a fitful power-grab. He rewrites the plot and stars in his new show. He creates problems where there were none, conflict where there was peace, imbalance where there was balance. And we usually play the part he's written for us without asking questions.


Keith said...

I just read an article about how fear is driving the current economic situation. It claimed that usually fear is responsible for 1/4 of an economic crash but that this time, it's more like 3/4 and that if people would relax and return to normal, things would bounce back relatively quickly.

Diana said...

Well said!

Oh, and I think you should scrapbook your experiences...