Monday, February 10, 2014

Anxiety with Uncertainty

My wife Beth sent me this article from the site "Brain Pickings", "Stop Making Plans: How Goal-Setting Limits Rather Than Begets Our Happiness and Success" by Maria Popova.( ) Popova reviews the book by British journalist Oliver Burkeman, titled The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can’t Stand Positive Thinking. She writes that this is "a fascinating look at how our conventional approaches to happiness and success tend to backfire as our very efforts to grasp after such rewards generate a kind of anti-force that pushes us further away from them. This counterintuitive, counterproductive proclivity is particularly palpable when it comes to plans and goal-setting." She quotes Burkeman:
"What motivates our investment in goals and planning for the future, much of the time, isn’t any sober recognition of the virtues of preparation and looking ahead. Rather, it’s something much more emotional: how deeply uncomfortable we are made by feelings of uncertainty. Faced with the anxiety of not knowing what the future holds, we invest ever more fiercely in our preferred vision of that future — not because it will help us achieve it, but because it helps rid us of feelings of uncertainty in the present."

I'd like to read this book, because, over the years, a major source of my own anxiety and "blues" has been exactly what he writes about. Yes, I do trust the Lord and surrender my will to the Lord's, and I do this daily. In fact, that's what has helped me make fewer dumb decisions like the ones Burkeman writes about. But spiritual surrender doesn't always assuage one's anxieties. Clarifying their meaning and source, however, does help. So if you're emotionally geared similarly to me, read this article and check out the book!  

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