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Fear is perhaps one of the greatest common denominators among people today. Everyone is afraid of something. From the smallest ant to the biggest retrenchment, it is a universal feeling that no one can deny.

The worst part is that fear, if allowed to fester, can be incredibly crippling. A man with the potential to be a great person can be reduced to a whimpering pile of mess. It is very much akin to clipping the wings of an eagle off, which is tragic. The eagle was meant to soar high in the bright skies, where the limits are boundless. In the same way, us humans have incredible, untapped potential within each and every one of us. We are all made unique, with a special combination of abilities that set us apart from each other, which, if harnessed, can be used to do great things.

So why are great people rising up in such small numbers? The answer: Fear. We’ve been convinced that risk is not worth taking. It’s been whispered in our ears that it’s not worth it, that we should stick to the tried-and-tested. It’s been insinuated that sticking to the conventions are the best, because they are proven and secure. We’ve been bribed with huge future returns… If we stay on this one path of life. You know the path: Good school to good job to good income = Good life.

Yet, how many working people today would actually dare to say that they are living out their dreams daily, that they are pursuing their passions and using their abilities to the fullest, that they are actually happy?

Fear has kept us on the road more taken. The road not taken, as it is, is covered in moss and undergrowth, and seems to be a scary place to tread. However, all it takes is for someone to sweep the moss and undergrowth off the road at the beginning, and voila! the road is as clear as day. All it takes is a step in the right direction, and you’re on your way.

I find that fear is not necessarily a bad thing. If you fear something, you know for sure that if you actually overcome it, you have grown as a person. Overcoming fear leads to growth. Rising up to the challenge in the first place, however, takes courage. The road is not easy, I can tell you that — but the returns are great.

Life is too short to be hindered by fear. Don’t pass up the potential that you have because of a moment of anxiety. Do something that you are afraid of today — or at least, take baby steps in that direction, but nevertheless, take steps. I first took the step to publish my rather unpolished writing 3 years ago and never looked back. If you love writing but are afraid of criticism, start a blog now. If you love photography but don’t dare to take photographs in public, take one photo a day for a year — that’s 365 photographs for your portfolio.

And I guarantee you this: It will all be worth it.

I shall be telling this with a sigh

Somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.

– Robert Frost

This post first appeared (mostly) on Fever Avenue: Fear is Overrated, and re-posted on Medium.

so what are you going to do with that
taken from dailyutahchronicle.com

So I recently wrote about following your heart when pursuing education. I mentioned that we should not let the fear of practicality paralyze us, but follow our hearts where it would take us. It certainly sounds all good and ideal, but I’d bet that you read that, nodded furiously in agreement… And went back to pursuing the most practical course in your institution (or at least, two-thirds of you would).

I recently found an article that would, IMO, be far more convincing. The author’s argument goes as such: Liberal Arts degrees are useless (but not in the way most people think they are), and the people who pursue them are better off precisely because they are useless

It’s a strange statement to make, but hear him out – I think he’s on to something big. Here is the article: Liberal Arts, and the Advantages of Being Useless.

Now, I know that the title might seem very like one of those over-the-top defensive pieces that try a bit too hard to defend the Liberal Arts degree. Here are some quotes I picked out from the article that blew my mind – and hopefully they will convince you to take at least take a look, and give it some serious thought. (the bolds are mine)

This, I think, is why a Liberal Arts degree is useless: it requires some creativity and unguided exploration after you get it in order for you to figure out what you want to do with it. And it requires these things because you can’t read the name of a good paying job off of a Liberal Arts degree. If someone asks a Liberal Arts major what she is going to do with her degree, the best she can say is, “I’m not quite sure, but I’m pretty certain that I have roughly the same chance as any other major for getting a job and that by the middle of my career I’ll have an income that is just as good, if not better, than people with those other degrees.” Not the best sound bite. But it has the virtue of being true.

How can you get very far, If you don’t know Who You Are? How can you do what you ought, If you don’t know What You’ve Got? And if you don’t know Which To Do Of all the things in front of you, Then what you’ll have when you are through Is just a mess without a clue Of all the best that can come true If you know What and Which and Who. – Benjamin Hoff, The Tao of Pooh, “Cottleston Pie” (1982)

In the coming decades, success will be defined by the ability to understand the complex problems that customers face, and the ability to solve these problems elegantly. Technology development is important, as is finance, manufacturing,and distribution. But these areas are not core competencies for the industry leaders. The next billion-dollar company will be run by history majors who are skilled in wading through a massive jumble of facts and who have the ability to distill these facts down to a clear set of objectives that a global team can fulfill. – Tom Gillis, Forbes Magazine

“So let me leave you with a fairer question. This a question to which all majors, from any college, can give a decent answer. It is a question that does not stack the deck against Liberal Arts majors. And the answer to this question is an answer you might give when people ask the more conventional “What are you going to do with your degree?” question. The question is this:“What kind of person is your degree going to help you be?” If you’re a Liberal Arts major, you have a quick and ready answer: “I am going to be a more reflective and engaged individual, and an active, responsible contributor to my community capable of succeeding in leadership positions.”

What do you think – yay or nay for the Arts? Share your thoughts below!

From Daniel: Addiction is certainly one of the greatest impediments to happiness, largely because it creates an illusion of happiness, however short-lived it may be. It takes very decisive steps in the right direction in order to break out from the chain of addiction.

The writer, Gerald Blackson, writes about substance abuse, health and education. His most recent work highlights the Top 10 Best Master’s Degree Programs in Health Informatics.

 

Addiction, whether to drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, or any other possible substance, is a life-threatening and purposeless experience. Fortunately, addiction is a curable disease. Undergoing intensive rehabilitation is a tried and tested solution for addiction.

In fact, millions of people have been rehabilitated and had their lives turned around thanks to these programs. Relapse is possible, though. Somehow, former addicts begin to take illicit drugs and substances and develop addiction again. This isn’t quite a shocker nowadays since the streets are paved with drug dealers and pushers alike. To help you keep your awful past at bay, below are five tips to consider.

 

Continue Attending Sessions

You may think it is impossible or unnecessary to continue attending meetings and simply go ahead with your fresh clean life. On the contrary, it is imperative to remain active and participate with these gatherings and events. By planning ahead, you can still make room for such occasions.

An hour or two a week should suffice. Not only will this aid you in sticking to your daily lifestyle, but also give you time away from stress sources of your natural environment.

 

Vent Out Feelings

Do not keep things bottled up inside you. Instead, let it out by telling a friend, family member, or anyone you trust, even if that means an anonymous chat room.

By expressing your feelings, you’ll be able to let off pressure and get immediate help and advice from peers who understand the situation.

 

Get Supporters

Assigning yourself a supporter or attending a support group is a great way to keep addiction at bay. This group of people understand you well as they are experiencing the same thing you are in.

At the same time, avoid people who do not support or even care about your recovery and your undertakings away from drugs and alcohol. Replace them with friends and family who love and support you. This positive environment is conducive for a long-term addiction-free lifestyle.

 

Keep Yourself Busy

It makes sense, right? If you don’t have time to spare, there is a strong likelihood that you won’t be thinking of using drugs or drinking alcohol.

Start a new TV show, join a club or re-connect with loved ones. The days go by much more quickly and easily when you’re invested in something new and enjoying your time.

 

Proper Diet

Dieting is an underrated factor when it comes to staying off addictive substances. Most people think that the food they eat doesn’t have any link to a potential relapse. However, diet is connected to how you feel.

If you eat well, you feel happy and healthy. This goes the other way around. Eating fast food and junk food will only lead to depression and stress, which is a shortcut for recurrence of addiction problems.

 

If you do fail, always perceive it as something you can learn from and improve yourself for the better. Seek immediate advice and support to prevent the problem from escalating.

From Daniel: This is a guest post written by freelance writer Francis Lawson. He writes about helping your community and simple things such as providing inspiration through sports that can help the youth of today, and the future generations of tomorrow. 

 

Whether you’ve lived in your town your entire life, or you’re a newcomer there, it’s important that you contribute to the community as much as possible – communities are only as good as the people living and working within them. Contributing to your local community can help to keep towns and cities in good condition while also giving you a great feeling of altruism. There’s no better feeling than helping those in need and doing something good without any financial or other kind of reward, so if you haven’t contributed before here are five great ways that you can start helping out:

 

Volunteer

Every city, town and even village is likely to have some kind of charity that you can volunteer at. It could be a globally known charity, a lesser-known one, your local homeless shelter, animal shelter or an outreach program. You could volunteer in a shop, factory, or out on the streets, whatever you do though you can guarantee that the organisation will be more than happy to welcome you onto the team.

 

A lot of people claim they haven’t the time to volunteer but this often isn’t true – practically everyone has a spare hour here or there that they could devote to helping those that need it most.

 

Raise money for charity

Raising money for charity can be incredibly fun and very rewarding. Even if you’re only able to raise a few pounds the charity will be thankful, and you could always ask your boss if your entire workplace could get involved in your fundraising efforts.

 

You could hold a fancy dress day with people donating a pound or two on the day, or you could ask people to sponsor you for something, such as running a marathon or going on a long-distance bicycle ride. You don’t necessarily need to do anything exerting though, you could simply hold a cupcake sale or make and sell cards for an annual holiday like Valentine’s Day, Easter or Christmas.

 

Look after your home

Not all of your community efforts need to be difficult; they could involve something as simple as looking after your own home. If you keep your property nice and tidy it can make your street much more attractive, which will help to keep the area prosperous.

 

Without being rude or insulting you should also encourage your friends, family and neighbours to do the same – just mowing the lawn and repainting the garden fence could be enough!

 

Pick up litter

A lot of people organise litter-picking days and there should be one in your area as well – if there isn’t you can always start one up yourself! Whether you do it with other people or on your own though, going around your town and picking up any litter and rubbish will make it much neater and appealing to visitors and residents.

 

Recycle

Recycle bins are available on almost any street or road nowadays, so recycling really couldn’t be any easier. By recycling you will be helping your local council to reach its recycling targets year on year, as well as doing your bit for the environment.

 

How do you like to give back to the community?

I learned one huge lesson this past week (and also the few weeks before), something that is increasingly getting lost in the noise of today’s society. And indeed, as I continue to write on this site, my thoughts are slowly but surely crystallizing and forming the ideal mindset that I believe everyone should have – or at least, a huge component of it – and this is one concept that floats to the top of it all.

 

Here it is. The one thing that everyone should have is… Social Consciousness.

 

It is startling to note how little social consciousness is present in today’s society, but not particularly surprising. After all, from young we are taught that we need to study hard so that we can find a good job for ourselves, earn lots of money so that we can enjoy it, as well as take good care of our own family, and eventually, hoard enough money so that we can retire and have everything that we need and want.

 

And isn’t this the American (or Singaporean) dream? And isn’t it picture perfect?

 

Except, oops, we forgot about practically everyone else in the world outside our own little circles. The suffering, the pain, the less fortunate, the dying, the starving, the hungry, the neglected, the unloved.

 

This may sound harsh, but let’s be honest. As I’ve mentioned so many times, happiness based on fleeting things is unsustainable. But even if we commit to social causes for the sake of our own happiness, isn’t that inherently selfish? In fact, if I am to be honest with myself, isn’t everything that I do, in the end for my own benefit?

 

That is an incredibly pessimistic diagnosis of our lives on this earth. Are we doomed to selfish and self-absorbed endeavors? Is it inevitable that our so-called social consciousness is unattainable?

 

My answer? Well, my answer is no.

 

I say that true altruism can be cultivated.

 

I say that practice inevitably makes perfect.

 

As we practice being socially conscious intentionally, the mere act of doing brings about a life-altering paradigm shift.

 

We begin to help people – and really want to help. 

 

We start to be aware of the needs around us – without even intending to.

 

We start to perform acts of love and kindness – without thinking of the rewards.

 

And in doing so, we truly have it – social consciousness – and with it, happiness.

 

So do this. Be socially aware, build up and practice your social consciousness. Consider others before self. Sooner or later, it will merge into your own consciousness – and everyone around you will know it.