Scary Movies, Ashton Kutcher and You?

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Do you like scary movies?  I must admit I don’t race to the horror section of my local movie rental store.  It isn’t that I don’t appreciate a well done scary film because I do.  Some of my favorite all time movies are scary like Jaws, Alien and Friday the 13th.  Thanks to Jaws I still find it impossible to be fully comfortable swimming in any open water even if it is a lake where I know logically a shark will never be.  And Alien’s, I am sorry, but I still consider every pregnant woman as a possible threat to my life.  I just can’t get the image of that alien monster bursting out of its unknowing host’s belly with its crazy sharp teeth.  So if you’re pregnant and I seem to be keeping my distance from you, it isn’t you.  It’s due to my conditioning as an adolescent.  All I have to say about Jason and Friday the 13th is good luck getting me out in a canoe in the middle of a tranquil pond at a summer camp.

So you are thinking, “Great Chris is crazy and he has a certain amount of distaste for scary movies, but what does this have to do with me and meeting the needs of my customers?”  The answer is everything and nothing.  Fear is the number one driver that motivates us humans.  It forces us to either move where we don’t want to go or it keeps us where we currently feel safe.  Fear as a noun is defined by Dictionary.com as “a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, etc., whether the threat is real or imagined; the feeling or condition of being afraid.”  Each of us have lived different lives in diverse time periods and experienced unique upbringings.  Everything we have learned and experienced have been stored as a perception of reality in the hard drive of our minds.  When we begin to do any task we access the lifetime of data we feel is relevant to the task we are considering and rate the amount of fear we associate with the task.  When I watch a scary movie I know (or at least hope) what I am watching isn’t real, but how  do I know if my perception of my own reality is accurate.

Consider for a moment the Huli tribe’s reality.  The Huli’s live in remote areas of Papua, New Guniea.  Until recently, they have never been exposed to anyone or anything outside of their immediate area. They live in a world of endless forests with no other people. You and I truly do not exist.

There are no countries. There are no such things as plastic, steel, or paper. The only flying objects are birds, and man has never been to the moon. There are no governments and there is no stock-market.  The two world wars never took place. Electricity, telephones, and roads do not even show up in their dreams. They could never comprehend the sight of a beach, or open ocean. These things TRULY do not exist in their world.

Yet you and I know they are real.  We live in different realities, with different possibilities. But the Huli’s reality is just as real to them, as yours is to you.  Just because you “think” it’s real, doesn’t mean it’s real.

So if we are brave enough to admit some of our fears are based on the false perceptions of our pasts then we could work to condition ourselves to view seemingly fearful situations through a new set of eyes and in turn achieve successes we didn’t believe possible for ourselves and teams before.  If you’ve ever watched Punk’d then you know of Ashton Kutcher.  Ashton Kutcher has accomplished a lot more than Punk’d which his production company produces.  He majored in Biochemical Engineering, models, acts, produces, restaurant owner, creative director for Oma and of course married the much older Demi Moore.  I heard Kutcher once say during an interview, “When I find myself afraid of something or uncomfortable, I run towards it instead of away from it.  I have learned it always makes me better and exposes me to opportunities I would have missed otherwise.”

What have you been running from?  What opportunities might have you missed? How are your perceptions of the past effecting your present?

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5 comments

  1. Sally Mom · July 11, 2011

    Great post, Chris. I know so many people that are trapped in their fear and miss life. Even pain brings us to a better understanding and appreciation for life without pain and hopefully helps us to learn and grow from the experience.
    Yes, running towards the fear and meeting it head on. I love that!!!
    Thanks for the reminder.

    • Chris Antrim · July 11, 2011

      You are living example of what a full and vibrant life someone can lead if they embrace that which might be viewed as “scary”. I have a lot to learn from you.

  2. Lisa H · July 11, 2011

    As a teenager, I relished the scary movies. As an adult, it has become more difficult. My perception has changed now that I have children, have more experiences under my belt, and somehow not as immune to violence as I once was. Thanks for the thought provoking post.

    • Chris Antrim · July 18, 2011

      Lisa, thank you for your comments and I couldn’t agree more with the fact that with age seems to come a greater intollerance for violence which I think we all can agree is a good thing.

  3. Tammy · July 16, 2011

    I’m with Lisa. The “yes, you are going to die one day” factor kicked in for me at age 40. I can’t watch the spooky stuff. But there’s other stuff that I do fear – I sort of live “within the lines” and still find comfort in that.

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