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What's Wrong With Right Now If You Don't Think About It?

April 19, 2020

What's wrong with right now if you don't think about it?

That's the title of a book that was recommended to me by a mentor of mine.

Let's say you have a problem.

Example: You are afraid of public speaking.

That's unfortunate—but do you have this problem when you’re not thinking about it?

If you’re taking a walk outside, do you presently have the problem of fearing public speaking?

Maybe if you suddenly run into an eager group that starts chanting “Speech, speech, speech!” at you.

But otherwise, you’re on a walk enjoying the outdoors. You’re not thinking about public speaking, nor how you feel about it.

In other words, because you are not thinking about it, you’re not suffering from it. It’s not a problem.

“But the fear would show up as soon as I was asked to talk to a group.”

First off, we don’t know that for sure. We all accidentally experience ourselves not feeling expected levels of emotions all the time. I wrote about my surprising lack of fear when almost stepping on a rattlesnake.

Psychology has demonstrated that one thing we know for sure is that humans are bad at estimating their emotions. So there’s no guarantee you’ll experience that fear. It’s a possibility—but not truly a problem.

Second, if you didn’t label it as “public speaking,” would you be scared?

For instance, say you’re out with a group of friends celebrating and decide to give an impromptu toast. In that moment, you might be feeling happy or elated.

You probably wouldn’t feel that anxiety because you didn’t even think about labeling it or thinking of it as “public speaking.”

My point is this: Thinking is the key to having problems.

This is critical to recognize.

No, not critical, that’s not a big enough word. Let me check the thesaurus...

...Recognizing that thinking is the key to having a problem is astronomic and colossal.

In my experience, the biggest mistake we all make is that we think we have problems. And if we think we have a problem, now we have to solve that problem. Now there are things to worry about (money, time, effort).

But...if we forget that we have a problem, then emotionally it’s as good as not having it.

I’m not saying to pretend as if there are no real challenges in life. I'm saying that we don’t need the suffering part. That never helps.

So then, what’s wrong with right now if you don't think about it?

Everything? Nothing? Somewhere in the middle?

I guess it’s whatever you think it is.

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