Fear – N.B. This post is not about Lee Ving’s Hardcore band.

What holds anyone back from thriving in the world?

Intelligence plays a role – given identical upbringings, access to resources, and social standing someone with an IQ of 110 is (statistically) going be faster to learn and apply new information than someone with an IQ of 90.

Upbringing, access to resources, and social standing (along with gender, race, nationality, sexual and gender identity, and a host of other variables) can be substantial road blocks in and of themselves because they set the stage for our abilities to flourish or wither.

Sadly there isn’t any evidence to suggest that we can boost intelligence – we can hamper it in lots of ways from poor prenatal care to malnutrition, or exposure to toxicity hazards during childhood development, but we can’t boost it. Variables like social status, income inequality,  being part of a marginalized group that has limited access to resources (like education) are structural problems and won’t be solved by any one of us individually (which is not to say that we shouldn’t be investing energy in changing these dynamics, just that You or I can’t do it alone and that it’s generally beyond the scope of this project). However, the one variable I think we can do something about as mentors is upbringing.

How we raise our children, teach our students, coach our athletes, or lead our scouts is a domain in which we can exert intentionality and choice. By virtue of adult authority and responsibility we are afforded a significant degree of freedom in how we go about the mentoring process.

With that as given I believe that the single biggest road block people face is fear. And fear is something we can train people to manage through mentoring.

We will never get rid of fear – it’s hard wired into our brains – and you wouldn’t want to. Fear is the manifestation of our perception of danger – of a potential threat to our survival. Realistically each of us is here because our ancestors – all the way back to single celled organisms – was successful at escaping from danger because they felt fear.1 If you meet someone who says they have no fear they are either a liar or pathological
2.

The Dandelion Manifesto is a method of inoculating our charges against the paralyzing effects of fear. It’s A WAY (but not “The Way”) of helping them navigate the road blocks they will face in life. It’s a program that aims to foster the skills and confidence needed to wake up each and every day ready to say, “Fuck it, I’ve got it.”

  1. And luck. Random chance can kill you too, so there is a degree of luck involved in each of us being alive today.
  2. Or they have little regard for semantics. You should be wary of such people.

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