In Canada, you can find a skittish bird called the loon. The interesting thing about loons is that they will find a mate for life and they only want to be on a lake alone together. If another set of loons shows up, they will leave.
If you were to take a set of speakers and made loon calls with them, eventually the loons occupying the lake will leave in fear of their safety.
Of course, the loons are wrong. There is no real danger.
If you look at human behavior, we often make decisions based on our fears. We don’t see that the loon noises around the corner are fake. We fear the worst that something out there is trying to kill us.
For thousands of years, we had to rely on these instincts. A branch snapping could mean a bear was ready to pounce us. Most of us don’t have to worry about bears chasing us anymore. Yet, we let these fears continue to drive our decision-making every day.
Today, we have metaphorical bears that we continue to worry about–consumer debts, health insurance, mortgage payments. None of these things are deadly. None of them are trying to eat us. Sure, it is stressful. We live in a stressful world. It is stressful to think we are behind in our retirement. And it is stressful to feel that we can never pay off a mountain of debt. It is stressful to think how we are going to help our kids through college.
Except 200 years ago, a drought could mean we were going to starve. And hospitals were not to be found when we were sick or injured. Access to clean water was a chore. So was bathing and washing clothes. It was difficult to keep your house warm in the winter. You only owned one set of clothes and shoes. There was no such thing as the internet.
It is stressful to not have any choices and it is stressful to make choices. We have never had more choices to choose from in the entire history of the world.
The world will never be completely save for any of us. None of us are going to make it out of here alive. Despite the loon noises, it is the safest it has ever been. We don’t need to carry the same weight our ancestors did. We don’t. It’s a choice.