How Do You Think About Fear And How It Holds You Back?

“…Only Thing We Have To Fear Is Fear Itself…”

“You’re Your Own Worst Enemy.”

“What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stronger.”

Quotes, proverbs, advice–they’re all words for which the true meaning we might not have understood when we first read or heard them. Or we had some kind of at-face-value understanding–a vague interpretation of what we thought they might have meant. But then there are others that take us years or even maybe decades to truly understand and experience.

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At a certain point, they just click.

“..Only Thing We Have To Fear Is Fear Itself…” stands out as one of the strongest phrases that comes to life as we become more self-aware in our life’s evolution. Franklin D. Roosevelt went on to outline what it was he was referring to as the “nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.”

To us, a working interpretation of this quote can become “If I look back at everything I ever stressed about in my life, the stress, anxiety and other negative emotions were often times more crippling than anything that ever actually materialized in those situations.”

Fear is a crippler. We all have to work at it. No one is perfect. We all might be haunted by that little, and possibly growing, voice of doubt.

But the worst part about fear is that even though it’s merely a perception and an anticipation, it is reinforced in cases where the fear paralyzes someone. The inhibition is so strong that they, first, don’t give all their potential and then, second, when things don’t work out they say they were right about those fears.

But, in most cases, this is wrong.

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We can’t assign or claim inability when we come up short on goals where we didn’t give 100% due to crippling self-doubt, as that would give credence to whatever fear it is we had.

There was truly nothing to fear, but our self-doubt allowed the lack of success to allow that entity–whatever it is we feared–to become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

And through that paralysis and subsequent shortfall, “You’re Your Own Worst Enemy.”  You become your own biggest obstacle.

But hopefully there is some redemption and realization in all of us–that, as with everything else in life, even though something bad has happened, we’ve taken stock of everything that led up to it–both the good and the bad, what was in our control and what wasn’t–and adjusted our approach to the future.

It’s important to assess and reassess throughout life. Yes, analyze any possible data or information. It sounds contradictory, but analyzing what worked and what didn’t is different from analyzing what might or might not be. It’s debriefing on your past versus preemptively dismantling your future.

None of this means to throw caution to the wind and go in blind without consideration of possible outcomes.  The advice here only means don’t cripple yourself with that analysis (paralysis by analysis).  Truly think of everything that went into your actions and what could change for the better. The parts of your strategy that were in your control, especially if the deficiency might have been that you didn’t believe in yourself enough–learn from it.

Realize that you fell short, but that you’re still standing.

Realize that we can learn from our mistakes and step up again.

Realize that “What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stronger.”

So…What About You?

  • What has been your history of fear?  How have you changed, for better or worse?
  • Have you learned to avoid paralysis by analysis?
  • What steps have you taken to improve or get past fear?

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