Conquer your fears
In a speech in 1933, American president Franklin Delano Roosevelt, addressing a nation mired in a Depression and on the verge of a world war, famously stated, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” During the first century A.D., Epictetus said, “It is not death or pain that is to be dreaded, but the fear of pain or death.” And in the 1600s, Francis Bacon remarked that “Nothing is terrible except fear itself.”
Fear is universal. It crosses all boundaries of race, culture, religion and generation. We all feel fear. So why do some people appear to be fearless, doing battle with enemies that others cower before? Because they recognize that the greatest enemy they face is the fear itself. The first battle every hero faces is against fear and its weapons of destruction.
So how should we deal with fear? Avoiding it never really makes it go away; we either become paralyzed or defeated. Frantically searching for a quick fix usually just results in unfocused and wasted effort.
The only way to deal with fear is to face it and overcome it. Dale Carnegie explained it this way: “Inaction breeds doubt 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.”
How to Fight Fear:
1) Discover the foundation of fear.
Fear usually resides in feelings rather than facts. Drill down into your emotions to figure out the basis of your fears.
2) Focus on what you can control.
I can’t foresee every financial crisis, but I can build a savings fund in case of emergency. I can’t control the actions of others, but I can control my attitude. Remember: it’s not what happens to you, but what happens in you that matters most.
3) Accept fear as the price of progress.
If you want to grow, then you will battle fear the rest of your life. The good news: each victory over fear adds to your confidence and helps you to overcome fear again in the future.
4) Stoke Your Passion
We have both fear and courage within ourselves: we cannot purge either one. We can weaken the emotion of fear by starving it, refusing to grant it entrance into our thoughts or to influence our decision-making. However, in addition to starving fear, we also have to feed hope.
An inspiring vision consumes us with the possibility of what could be and should be. It fills us with powerful emotions of hope and excitement that can dwarf the emotion of fear. Nourishing a vision—thinking about it, talking about, and taking small steps toward it—generates the passion that can propel us to overcome fear.
Thought to Ponder
Thomas Edison delivered his final public speech during the depths of the Great Depression. In it, he encouraged his audience with the following words:
“My message to you is: Be courageous! I have lived for a long time. I have seen history repeat itself again and again. I have seen many depressions in business. Always America has come out stronger and more prosperous. Be as brave as your fathers before you. Have faith! Go forward!”