What Is Anxiety? The Common Sense Answer

The reason our brains are flooded with stimuli and make choices without thought is because they aren’t used to considering the many options that we have to choose from. This explains why you can have one gut feeling about something and change it the next instant.  We are all the same.

It sounds silly, but many people believe that anxiety is a normal part of living a stressful life. When we are stressed, we automatically make choices — whether we believe we need or want a new computer, or a new pair of earrings — that we think are better for us. Anxiety is a way to help us think more critically and avoid the easy way.

If we believe we don’t need to worry about the next car payment, a home improvement project, a movie we’re going to see or that we will get good grades because we are smart, our stress starts to lift. If we believe we do need the next car or the new earrings, we are less likely to make those decisions. We’re more likely to let ourselves get stuck.  And so the cycle continues until we feel anxious again.

We live in a constant stream of new information. Every action we take sends our brains a signal, which we interpret according to the facts and the environment we are in.  If our brain interprets the new information incorrectly, they will create a false memory of what we want to achieve, or what might motivate us to action.  It’s why so many entrepreneurs believe that their business is doomed because their customers or the media is against them — a product or experience cannot compete against their personal belief system.

We believe we are bad, or stupid, or that we need to fix our problems, but really we are just doing what our brains are programmed to do.  A lot of people are afraid of being bad.  Most people really feel like it’s the only option in life. So many people spend their life in the stress-loop, thinking that if we are really so terrible at things like eating and drinking, people might not like us.  We feel so bad when we fail, we believe that no one will like us. So, many people spend all of their energy on overcoming the fear of failure.

So What Makes People Think That They’re Perfect, So They Don’t Have to Learn Anything?

The reason people think they’re so good at everything seems based on their belief that they have the same intelligence as other human beings. As a man said, “If only I had your ability to think like you, I’d be the best thing on the planet.  I’d be the smartest person on the planet — that’s who I’d be.” A quick glance at those who’ve been selected to be president of the United States shows that it’s an exceptionally talented group, but that doesn’t mean most people are born with the same capabilities or the same belief that they might become president. And of course that means that it’s not possible for anyone to think their life is perfect; we don’t know what we’re doing or what might happen.  It’s impossible to know when you feel anxious — we feel anxious when the evidence says otherwise, and we can’t always see where the problem lies.  It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy, in the same way that a person’s self-image depends on their belief that they’re good at golf.

If this is true, we must also believe that everyone has the same capacity or belief so there can never be a perfect person.  Thus, we must all do our best at our best and the best thing on earth.  Our self-sustaining belief must make it impossible for us to learn anything about ourselves from the best or the worst.