Anxiety And Angst Of Missing Your Turn

Has it been six months since experiencing this level of angst? With the passage of time, you forget the negative feelings and remember only the positive. It’s human nature. Every few seconds I inched up a bit further. The color coded signals and lane assignments require laser focused attention.

Every few seconds I inched up a bit further. The color coded signals and lane assignments require laser focused attention.

Stay focused on “purple.” That’s what I told myself. Failure to heed your assignment disturbs the herd behavior. It invites a harsh tongue lashing. It’s something I’ve experienced once before.

Failure to heed your assignment disturbs the herd behavior. It invites a harsh tongue lashing. I experienced this once before. The crowd gets some perverse enjoyment from the public humiliation.

Finally, it’s my turn. I see the purple color flash with a number. I hurried my way over to the assigned station.

Of course, I refer to the checkout line at the Whole Foods near the World Trade Center in downtown Manhattan.  I was in the neighborhood and decided to go there for lunch. At the checkout, there are six or seven aisles. A color coded board hangs from the ceiling. Each color flashes the cashier assignment. The numbers range from one to thirty.

If you miss your cashier assignment or go to the wrong one, customers waiting behind you let you know of your mistake. And they do it in a snobbish, scornful manner. I’ve seen powerful, rich, meat eating men in suits cut to shreds for paying more attention to their cell phone than their register assignment.

I get it. It’s lunchtime. People are hungry and want to eat. That feeling creates tension. It leads to irritable behavior.

The Power Of Angst

Nobody likes to feel angst, anxiety and tension. Like any feeling, you can exploit for positive or negative results. When you face scorn from your fellow customers for missing your check out assignment, there is no positive spin. In other cases, it gets us past inertia that keeps us from taking positive but uncertain actions.

In other cases, it gets us past inertia that keeps us from taking positive but uncertain actions.

It may sound evil to some but creating angst, anxiety and tension may do your audience some good.

Here’s what I mean.

I know all the logical arguments for eating healthy. I know I should do it. Here’s the reality. Knowing the facts isn’t enough to push me past my primal urges to gorge on cake and ice cream.

I need to feel the fear of eating unhealthy. I need to feel angst about the damage that will occur if I eat that piece of cake.

That’s how you get someone to take a painful, yet life-changing action. Create angst, anxiety and tension about their current, damaging behavior. Build it up to the point where their current path feels like a road to hell. Only then will she push past the natural inertia that craves the status quo.

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