Everyone wants to be known as ‘Courageous’. Courage is a wonderful feat to achieve. It is not only displayed by soldiers in a war field who faithfully defend their country; every field of work requires courage at various levels. The very fact that ‘right now’ you are interested in something positive, which has life changing potential, proves the courage in you.
Courage can be understood in many ways and one of them is by studying the one thing that tends to antagonize, neutralize and negate it: Fear.
Fear is one of the most crippling things… one can even say that it is ‘the’ most crippling thing in anyone’s life. Fear can make a person perform far below his/her abilities, say sports authorities. Fear makes music incoherent, attest composers. Medicine says that fear can even cause paralysis. Fear causes school drop outs. So goes the saga of fear…
Now, not all fears are bad. Fear, as authorities in psychology say, is good until it starts to freeze us, halts our thinking and stops our progress. If fear stimulates us into a constructive, preparative action then it is good. If fear causes one to chart out a plan and act upon it, then it is the kind which is natural and helpful, for it helps us to organize and make our lives better. Any other type of fear would do no benefit.
Our present social situation, if one can say, is unfortunately ‘fraught with fear’. A student in a class is afraid to ask doubts. An Employee is afraid to ask his boss for a day of leave. On a global scale, we fear terror attacks. Even many people think about the future predictions of catastrophes and sit scared. It is also not uncommon in families where pessimism causes a person to fear an unlikely situation of someone deserting them, or the insecure feeling making a parent fearful about the wellbeing of his/her kids when they are away on a college excursion.
Sometimes we do encounter statements like, ‘Accidents are on the rise, and I better stay back than make the trip on the highway’. Some might say, ‘What if I catch flu? Might as well be inside the house as the weather seems unwelcoming’. These things show how much fear has encroached into the society.
The line in a famous movie, ‘Terrified, mortified, petrified, stupefied by you…’ seems to describe many. The only difference is that the ‘you’ in the statement is substituted with many other things: Divorce, illness, defamations, debts, opinions, boss (uh-huh) etc.
What are your fears? How many of them are irrational?
Now let me reiterate this: right now we are not at aiming to highlight the prevalence of fear nor are we glorifying its powers but just attempting to illuminate a bit more on how intense this issue is today.
But the actual truth is (as very many thinkers before us have declared, after careful observations) – The adverse events that we fear, for the most part, exist only in our imagination, i.e. we deliberately imagine fearful situations which for the most part would never happen in actuality. We tend to conjure frightening situations and imagine ourselves getting entangled in them.
The sufferer of such a malady unfortunately experiences the consequences of his/her negative imagination in real time, in the form of palpitation, sweating, headache, lack of drive, lack of confidence etc. A person can even end up a Neurotic in a hospital, if he or she continually fears something.
We cannot afford to waste our life on fear as apparently, fear wastes our lives and bodies so badly.
How many opportunities are lost just because we did not have the boldness to press on? How many promotions are lost just because we don’t have the nerve to ask the superior? How many people miss their soul mates just because they did not have the guts to go and pursue their love?
The numbers are immaterial. The thing needed now is that such unneeded fears, spoilers that they are, can be and have to be eliminated.
Somebody said, “To do the very thing you fear is to kill that fear”. It is true. Sometimes we need to do the very thing that we are afraid will hurt us. Norman Vincent Peale said, “You never do wrong by doing right”. When we fear a situation, it would help us to sit back in our chair and do some honest heart searching and ask ourselves – ‘what is the right thing to do now?’ Then we should strive to do that right thing i.e. act with courage no matter what the odds are.
“Courage is being afraid but going on anyhow” said Dan Rather. If our heart says what the right thing to do is, we have to bolster ourselves up and go forward, in spite of our temptations to wind up under the pressure.
It has also been observed by many throughout the centuries that usually it is the first couple of steps that are the toughest in any endeavour. So for us to overcome the inertia and take the first few steps towards what we want would not be the easiest, but as we boldly step up, we will surely find that our fears don’t have one hundredth of the strength we think they have.
Remember my friend: You are bigger than your fears! And any one can make a commitment today to take first hand measures to bring down the unpleasant consequences of illegitimate fears by doing the very thing they fear. Are you game enough?
Pres. Ali putting water meters on the citizens in Berbice, and not meters on Exxon oil pumps.
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