The Unknown

Among the most challenging things we humans face is the unknown. While at first blush that may sound obvious, consider what it actually means. “The unknown”, as ominous as it may sound, simply refers to that which we don’t know yet. Everything known, when you stop the think about it, was at one point a part of that most-scary-sounding “unknown”. What had to take place to change the category? A fleeting inquiry? A crash-course into a new subject area? Just asking the object of your affection to dance with you?

The thing that always struck me however is that as children, just about everything is “unknown”. We know so little empirically, we have had much less a posteriori knowledge than we will by adolescence. So if one of our greatest fears is that of the Unknown, doesn’t it make sense that as children we should be far more afraid of our world than we are as adults?

Here’s the kicker – sure, some children are timid by nature, or perhaps they fell off a sofa or out of their crib and therefore learned fear and the sensation of a painful consequence more early than others. Conversely, some children are daring and fearless, scaring their parents instead as they intrepidly defy the world to actually harm them. But compare that to how many adults have at least one debilitating fear. Maybe it’s a fear of heights, or of traveling fast, of falling (or worse, all three, with a fear of flying!), and then there is the timeless and near-universal fear of public speaking. Many adults are similarly petrified of confrontation, or of rejection. Then of course the aforementioned “Unknown”, which can weave its tentacles into many other fears, compounding their impact. This is such a wide array of fears. Where did they come from? One theory, which common sense appears to support, is that children have only a couple of fears to begin with – falling and loud noises. They have to learn the rest. So with years of practice, we adults have had plenty of time to perfect some of these fears.

Now fear, as with most emotions, has a purpose. It is part of our hard-wired Survival instinct. It’s a crucial component of our fight-of-flight response. But what happens if we generalize it, applying it where it isn’t useful? What if we actually get in the way of our own success, our own happiness, our own wealth, our own fulfillment, by applying this well-intentioned fear response inappropriately? If you’ve ever sabotaged your own success, be it in business, education, a relationship, or anywhere else, you know what I mean.

Fear can save your life, keep you from making a bad investment, or spending time with someone who could bring pain, harm, or disappointment to your world. But it can also cause you to hesitate when you should act, miss a great opportunity, or keep you from connecting with someone who can bring pleasure, profit, or some other joy to your world.

What I do here is teach you to know the difference, so you retain healthy fears that serve you, but break through fears that bind you.

Who do you think is more likely to marry the partner of his dreams – the guy who is too afraid to ask anyone out, fearing that even if he isn’t rejected, he will be hurt in the long run? Or the guy who realizes that not everyone will appreciate him, and that the only way he can find Mrs. Right is by daring to ask, inquire, to get to know people, and seek her out?

My suspicion is that the second person is far more likely to find his perfect partner. The first may spend his entire life alone, certain that it’s better than risking the pain he might experience if he dares to really live.

There is much more to being successful than just being brave, of course. We will look into all of that, you and I. But you have to begin somewhere, and the foundation, the beginning, the attitude, seems like a good place to start.

Let’s begin!

Hello world!

Any of us who have taken a computer programming class or read a book on the subject are familiar with this phrase. It’s often the first thing we learn to print on our screens in this new language. Whether it’s a simple scripting language to C++, and all languages in between, our first step, it seems, is making the program send “Hello World!” to the screen. Fitting then that this is how we begin here.

Next, a question I hear often enough when I’ve just pronounced my name for someone, so as you are only able to read it, it would only be polite to tell you how to say my name. “Gingolph” is spoken as “ZHEN-golf”. The name comes from a town and lake on the French-Swiss border, St. Gingolph. When spoken quickly, it also sounds like a profane statement in Spanish. Imagine the ensuing culture shock when as a child, we moved to a largely Spanish-speaking part of South Texas!

I am a Systems Engineer for a well-respected global technology company in Austin, Tx. My playground often consists of servers, computer networks, enterprise storage, such as storage area networks (SANs), virtualization, and more. That’s when I work with machine systems.

I also work with human systems, and the similarities are enormous. My undergraduate work in college was in Psychology, and I was always interested in both Behaviorism and Cognitive therapies. The latter, by the way, is based upon computerized systems (which, in turn, were developed upon models of human learning, memory, and processing, so you see the irony…).