Fear is an emotion. Scary things create fear. How we deal with fear and scary things is within our control. Sometimes, it takes real will power to control fear and to deal with scary things.
Dealing with scary things is part of adulting. Not everybody is good at adulting. Not everybody wants to be good at adulting. Life is a swirl of choices. One of those choices is to be an adult about scary things.
Danger is a measure of risk. What is dangerous to one person — jumping out of an airplane, as an example — is not dangerous to another person. It is an acquired sense. You can mitigate danger through prudent action.
If you are a startup CEO/founder on your first company, everything is dangerous, risky, scary, and fills you with dread — fear. Sorry, that is normal.
If you are a startup CEO/founder on your sixth company, you are perfectly comfortable with the danger — yawn, been there, done that, hold my beer, on second thought go get me another beer — whilst it is not nearly as risky on No 6 as No 1, and it is not scary and you have no sense of fear.
You have learned how to deal with these two impostors — hat tip to Rudyard Kipling and that beauty of a poem, IF. Well played, Rudyard.
COVID19 is scary. For a lot of folks, COVID19 is dangerous — talking to you, seasoned citizenry, and co-morbidity persons. For others, it is not.
The continuum of scary (fear) v danger looks like this:
Some things are scary, but not dangerous.
Some things are dangerous, but not scary.
Some things are both scary and dangerous.
Some things are neither scary nor dangerous.
Take a second to catalog your feeling (the fear/scary emotional thing) and risk assessment (the cold, analytical danger matrix analysis).
Where are you?
As you do that, let’s throw some data at this by means of comparison, shall we? [Yes, we shall.]
So, heart disease in America. Now, that’s scary, right? You have a nice spaghetti and meatball dinner and you get a jolt of indigestion? Am I having a heart attack? No, you ate one too many of grandma’s secret meatball recipe beauties. It happens.
In the US,
650,000 Americans die of heart disease every year
200,000 Americans have died in the continuum of 1 February 2020 to 20 May 2020 [obviously trying to draw a parallel with COVID19 deaths during that period which were less than 90,000]
So, do you live in fear of a heart attack? Does it haunt your mind every second of the day? Do you stay indoors because you might get a heart attack? [Big point, heart attacks are not spread by contact. We got that. Still.]
What is the attendant level of fear? Is the situation scary?
What is the actual danger, the risk of a heart attack?
There is a body of logic at work here. If you are a healthy 25-year-old who jogs a couple of times per week, what is your real risk, the danger of a heart attack?
Same healthy 25-year-old, what is your real risk of becoming infected with COVID19 and what is the danger to you if you are infected?
One more time:
Fear is an emotion. It is a perception. We can control our emotions, often with rational thought. That noise you heard in the back yard at 2:12 AM is likely not the alien body snatchers. It could just be a squirrel.
Danger is measurable and can be mitigated. The 22nd time you jump out of an airplane, you are a safer paratrooper because you know what you are doing. [I am not factoring in those National Guard pilots from Alabama who are just as likely to drop you in a river as a drop zone.]
So, here are some other facts:
93% of all COVID19 deaths are in the 55 to infinity age group
81% of all COVID19 deaths are in the over 65 age group
Younger than 55 — 0.0022% chance (1/45,000) of becoming infected by COVID19 and dying
Younger than 25 — 0.00008% (1/1,250,000) chance of becoming infected by COVID19 and dying
These immediately preceding facts are a measure of the real danger for certain age groups.
If you are older than 55, then take precautions.
If you are younger than 55 or younger than 25, then assess the risk and act accordingly.
One size does not fit all.