Learning How to Deal with the Anxiety about Learning

By Fran Cherny , Nithya Shanti | Mar 26, 2019

Nithya Shanti and Fran Cherny share an interesting point of view about how we can better deal with anxiety in a world ruled by speed.


Fran: One of the challenges I found the most, and I speak with many leaders about this, and they don’t know how to do deal with it, with themselves and with their people is the anxiety. This need to have everything right now. Sometimes that creates the gap between learning and practicing, because is I learn it and I need to do it tomorrow perfectly well. Do you find that, too?

Nithya: I saw a little cartoon that there was a person praying and saying, “God, please grant me patience. And please make it quick.” So that happens that we want things to happen so fast sometimes. At the same time, you know when I was living in the monk, in the forest, I was walking with the teacher and he pointed out a tree to me. He said, “Do you see that tree?” I said, “Yes.” He said, “That tree grows very fast.” He said, “Do you see that tree?” I said, “Yes.” He said, “That tree grows really slow.” He said, “The tree that grows fast, people cut for firewood. The people that grow, the tree that grows really slow, people respect and revere. This tree lives for thousands of years.”

So in the modern culture, we somehow have gotten infatuated with the idea of speed. And the thing is, if you grow really fast, do everything super fast, sometimes not digest it, it’s not assimilated, it can’t become a part, it doesn’t become a part of you. And there’s still plenty of scope for going at the speed of life. Not only at the speed of thought, but the speed of life. And I think real organization that tend to outlast the trends and just be more stable, have deep foundations tend to be resilient, have that focus. Not just on speed, but on depth. So instead of being a mile wide, an inch deep, to be an inch wide and a mile deep. What would that take?

So I think the anxiety comes from the sense of, being so infatuated with the idea of speed, and like you said, you want everything right now. What evidence do you have that you don’t have everything you need right now? I’m sitting here. There’s a chair. There’s water for me to drink. There’s air for me to breathe. There’s a nice conversation going on. Could it be that everything I need right now is already here right now? That recognition will definitely reduce anxiety.

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