The antidote to anxiety is action

No amount of anxiety makes any difference to anything that is going to happen. — Alan Watts

Anxiety adversely affects your health and mental well being and slowly poisons relationships.

Worry is addictive because it seduces you into thinking you are solving a problem by chewing on it and exploring all the terrible things that could go wrong in your head. There’s an illusion of action, but in reality, you are standing still and stressing out.

The antidote to anxiety is action. Write down what could go wrong and what could go right. After each bullet point write down the next step or something proactive you can do about it. Some bullets will be actionable and some won’t be. File away the non-actionable outcomes and focus on the results you can prepare for, optimize for or prevent.

The antidote to fear and sadness

Reacting with compassion and kindness to someone who is unkind, cruel, selfish or angry take practice and patience. It’s also healthy for you.

Fear is the path to the dark side…fear leads to anger…anger leads to hate…hate leads to suffering – Yoda in The Phantom Menace.

Most of the time sadness and fear hides beneath hate and anger. Hatred, violence, and anger are the symptoms, but sadness and fear are the cause. Compassion and kindness is the antidote for the underlying cause.

An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile — hoping it will eat him last

“Each one hopes that if he feeds the crocodile enough, the crocodile will eat him last. All of them hope that the storm will pass before their turn comes to be devoured. But I fear greatly that the storm will not pass. It will rage, and it will roar ever more loudly, ever more widely.” – Winston Churchill

Take the short-term pain, to benefit from the long-term gain.

Most of the time appeasement just delays the inevitable. The source of the appeasement is usually fear of the unknown and lack of confidence. So we give into the fear and tolerate the bad behavior.

Making decisions and having the courage to follow through frees up space and lets everyone get on with life.


Talking about it is fake momentum

I’ve seen a lot of smart people get frustrated with their current careers, but refuse to do anything about it. These are people who are good at their jobs but find it really dull. It’s hamster wheel stuff. They tend to talk a lot about doing their own thing, starting something on the side, writing a book, traveling, taking time off, etc. but never do anything about it.

Talk is great, research will inform you, reading up on the topic will prepare and scare you. Opportunity favors the prepared mind, but there comes a time when you gotta move.

Talking to mentors and elders about shared experiences will give you a false sense of momentum, but the truth is that the hardest decisions in life are made on your own. Most of the things you’ll build and the mistakes you’ll make will happen when you are alone.

Carve out time, which means less time on the web, less time social media and start the work.

Polite power

People interpret politeness as weakness.

People interpret bellicosity as strength and power.

Power is inversely proportional to the amount of huffing and puffing you see in a confrontation.

Less chest thumping, more deep breathing.

Move slowly, be gentle, breath deeply. Don’t let them see you coming.

Breath out longer than you breathe in. Respond instead of reacting

When we get stressed out, we start taking deep breaths, even gulps of air and sigh heavily. Instead of relaxing you doing the opposite and winding yourself with for a fight or flight scenario. The lizard brain is taking over. 

Catch yourself when you get into a breathing cycle like this. Slow down and consciously spend double the time exhaling than you spend inhaling. It’ll move you from a reaction mode into responsive mode. Responding to something after you’ve had some time to digest the moment is way more efficient than reactive to something at the moment. This exercise can apply to stressful moments or joyful moments. 

I remember hearing the story about the martial arts instructor who was meeting with a student when a letter was delivered to him. It was a letter from his home country and something that he had been looking forward to for a long time. He slowly placed the envelope on the desk and continued to chat with the student. The student knew that his master has been waiting for this letter offer to leave early. The master said of course not, stay and finish the conversation. I don’t want to rush this conversation, and I don’t want to rush through the letter. Both are sacred and at the right time and it’s quiet I’ll open the envelope and savor it. Reacting vs. responding.