Truth Bomb Tuesday: We were actively designed to be irrational about threats like this.
I was trading messages with a friend of mine. She lives in the hills outside Byron Bay.
They had some epic floods earlier in the year, and last week they got quite a bit of rain.
Around 2 a.m on Friday morning, the SES sent out an emergency broadcast via text message to everyone in the area – to let them know that potential flooding was on the cards.
In the end, the rain let up and it didn’t flood. So that’s good.
My friend was still a little shirty. I mean, she got a text message at 2 am in the morning.
She couldn’t go back to sleep.
And she couldn’t do anything either. What was she going to do – go to the shop and buy batteries?
And so she spent the night being uselessly anxious.
Of course, I’m sure the SES didn’t have a choice. They knew it was possibly a false alarm, but if it was the real deal, they’d be roasted for not alerting people.
They had to do what they did.
But as she’s telling me all this, I’m thinking, this is exactly what anxiety is like.
As organisms, we are much more primed for threats than we are for opportunities.
Imagine you’re a fish. If you see some food, but your mind doesn’t register it as food, that’s a shame, but there’s plenty more food in the sea. You’ll probably be right.
But if you see a threat – maybe a bigger fish – but your mind doesn’t register it as a threat, you’re toast. It’s game over. You don’t get another shot.
And so all organisms evolve to be highly attuned to potential threats.
This creates a natural bias that all investors have to work with.
You have to know that when you look at the world – when you look at a potential deal – you’re going to be able to recognise threats much more readily than you will recognise opportunities.
That’s just the software you’re working with.
But the other thing about this is that our SES systems are constantly pinging our phones with threat alerts. They are constantly drawing our attention to things that could go wrong.
Sometimes, at 2 in the morning!
If you’re not aware of this natural bias, you’ll come to the conclusion that the world is just chock-a-block full of threats, and a terrible place to live.
And you’ll find yourself riddled with anxiety, up at all hours, counting your batteries.
That’s no way to live.
And look, there’s a lot of different strategies to deal with this – from meditation to affirmations and more.
But the first step is just recognising that your mind is primed for threats.
Make that bias conscious.
And just be aware that you’re looking at the world through a particular set of lenses.