Valor grows by daring, fear by holding back
It is occasionally relevant to reflect on the principles of life. If we remember that the way we respond to fearful situations determine whether we become timid individuals or idols of strength, we would choose our actions more carefully. Whenever we are struck by fear, we are standing at a fork in the road. One branch of the road leads to cowardice and other to the audacity. One fork leads to our desires and dreams, the other to fizzles and despairs. Fear is a beacon, pointing a way to new opportunities. It is an invitation to stretch ourselves and experience more of our potential. If we’re not watchful and succumb to fear, it will inhibit our growth. Growth is synonymous with change. How can we make progress by standing still? Yet, many of us resist change, preferring to remain in our comfort zone. For those who choose to do so, Stan Dale, “Comfort zones are plush lined coffins. When you stay in your plush lined coffins, you die.”
Imagine a developing butterfly refusing to leave its cocoon. Unless its willing to spend a great deal of energy to break free, it will not reach its potential and become a butterfly. But for those make the effort, the rewards are great. The exhilaration of flight! The joy of becoming fluttering flowers, shimmering with color! What about us? Are we willing to break through our comfort zones? If we want to soar badly enough, we will make the effort. Fear is not to be shunned, but embraced, for it offers benefits. It protects us from harm by alerting us of danger. It is because of fear that we don’t race across a street with heavy traffic. It helps to focus our attention, so if we have to cross a busy street, we will be alert and cross with caution. Whenever we conquer our fear, we are exhilarated. That’s fear’s gift to us. That’s why there are people who love skydiving and bungee jumping. Fear can also be a powerful motivator. For example, if a lazy employee is told to be performing or risk getting fired, he or she may take a dramatic turnaround and become a valuable member of the team. When the Bible instructs us to fear God, I believe it means to fear the LOSS of God. When we contemplate the loss of a great good, such as God, our job, or happiness, we will experience fear. When we use that fear as great motivation for making the right choices, we will benefit. When you’ll cross fear, there’ll be a question mark, but when you’ll surpass it, you’ll leave with an exclamation mark.
As we have seen, fear should be understood as positive force. Any negativity associated with it has no basis in reality; it is merely a mirage, a product of our mind. Harmful fear, then, can be called False Evidence Appearing Real (F.E.A.R.). True, we may have to experience some discomfort to reach our goal, but we mustn’t let that stop us. After all, he who fears to suffer, suffers from fear, and advances not. The fear of death casts a dark cloud on the ambitions of some. Why a make an effort when life is so short, they argue. However, instead of being afraid my life will end, shouldn’t be I afraid it will not begin? For, unless I take action and pursue my goals, surely it will not begin.
How about you? Do you allow dear to hold you back? If you act in spite of your fear, congratulations. for you are developing your potential. But if you experience no fear whatever, beware. The absence of fear simply means you are remaining in your comfort zone. Some of us are so skillful at hiding our fear that we fool ourselves. For example, I may be unhappy with my job and claim I won’t change it because I’m “cautious” or “don’t want to do”. That sounds much better than “I’m so scared to change”. And if, I repeat the lie often enough, I may come to believe it. One of the strongest fear is the fear of the unknown. So, if you’re afraid of acting, gather as many facts as possible. Analyze the pros and cons. Consider the worst that may happen and what is likely to happen. By considering every factor that comes to mind, you’ll be able to make an intelligent decision. Knowledge will weaken the grip of fear of the unknown. That’s why Emerson wrote, “Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood.” Similarly, Marie Curie said, “Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.” More important than knowledge is awareness. That is, it is not enough just to know. We must keep the facts in our awareness so they will guide our behavior. As long as I’m aware my goals are more important than the fear I feel, I will have the strength to act.
Inaction breeds doubts and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.