Good OP Gaudere:
Fearful. I don’t know if that’s the word for it. I had a friend who worked as an auto mechanic. Before he took a trip he went over his car pretty carefully. Was he afraid of a breakdown, or being prudent?
I notice that professionals in most areas tend to be pretty careful and anal about things that nonprofessionals handle in a blase and carefree manner. Are they fearful, or prudent.
Modern portfolio theory has an important codicile: One must be rewarded commensurately for every risk that one takes. It doesn’t mean don’t take risks. It means don’t take foolish risks. Don’t take risks you don’t get paid for.
I have noticed that professionalism in just about any area is geared the way I’ve described, not out of fear, but out of respect for this rule.
You maintain your car not out fear that it will break down, but so that it won’t. You have a spare tire so you don’t have to fear being stranded. You carry mace and take a self-defense course and don’t walk alone in the city if you don’t have to so you don’t have to fear being mugged, or raped.
This kind of paranoia is healthy.
A professional knows that most catastrophic events occur because of a chain of mistakes most often prompted by overconfidence. I’ll give you an example. I used to work in the Revlon building in NY. I would walk to the Port Authority. When I got paid, I typically cashed my check at the bank it was drawn on and took the cash home. Sometimes when I got off work, instead of walking down 5th avenue and turning on 42nd St (both well lit with a strong police presence) I would cut through various streets in zig-zag fashion. Sometimes on Fridays I would go out for a drink after work. One night when I got paid, I went for several drinks. Around 11 O’clock I walked back to the Port Authority. Not thinking that it was no longer daylight and rush hour, I took the zig zag route through less well-lighted and patrolled areas. A little drunk, I wondered how much money I had spent and how much I had been paid. So, as I walked, I took out my money and started counting 100 dollar bills. Suddenly, I noticed that there was a half dozen large and dangerous people regarding me with interest as I passed them. I stopped suddenly terrified. A long chain of incompetance, overconfidence and unpreparedness had brought me to this point. Here I stood, late at night, drunk, with a thick wad of bills in my hand, in a dark and dangerous neighborhood, having acquired the avid interest of several thugs. Petrified, I looked at one quickly glanced away and kept walking. What they shouted out behind me was “Nice try, cop!” They didn’t beleive anyone could be as stupid as I was.
If you look at people like Policemen, and pilots, and Professional soldiers it seems often they are preoccupied and fearful. They are always checking this and cleaning that and preventing the other and training for this unlikely eventuality or that one. They are always following a plan or a procedure that accounts for disaster. That expects it. It’s easy to look at this as fear.
The fact of the matter is that we are hurtling through space on a rock, and we can only survive in the narrowest of environments, and the entirety of creation and life is out to get us and snuff us, be it natural forces, bad guys, happenstance, a virus, terrorists, or what have you. The illusion of security is nothing more than that… an illusion. It is good Budha nature to be aware of the fact that the forces of darkness are always closing in on you so that you can give them the slip as often as possible. They’ll get you in the end though. As Mojo Rising says “No one here gets out alive.”
Disaster usually strikes as a surprise. How you live your life in terms of preparedness and prudence is going to term whether you survive it. It’s not fear to live in respect of the forces of darkness. It’s a sign of intelligence. Living with it, and dealing with it is not fear. Ignoring it because things seem safe, taking chances that don’t reward you (like walking alone in the city at night with your wallet out, counting your money) courts disaster.
Living accordingly is not fear it is professionalism. It is wisdom. Your life is not governed by fear unless it stops you from doing those things you need to do to make it fulfilling.
So, in that respect, I don’t beleive we are governed by fear. We still go out, and we do the things we need to, the things we like. The day that changes we are governed by fear. I think that day’s still a long way off.