Overcoming Fear

Only fear can defeat life. It is a clever, treacherous adversary, how well I know. It has no decency, respects no law or convention, shows no mercy. It goes for your weakest spot, which it finds with unerring ease. ~ Yann Martel, “The Life of Pi”

by Pete Ferguson

Bound by an inexplicable fear, I could not sleep. I could not concentrate. I had no self-esteem.

Physically ill, I had to work for several hours each morning to gain enough self-confidence to get through the day. Each evening, I had to rebuild the confidence to be able to sleep.

My self-esteem was at an all time low. I was not me.

This explained where I was several years ago. In the middle of a “mid-life crisis,” I was paralyzed by fear on a regular basis.

It was like an out-of-body experience for me. I knew better. Yet there I was, stuck in a personal Hell.

Down and out, I knew I was in trouble. So I spent hours listening to wise advice and learned that the answers to a happier life lay within. When I was true to myself, I gained the confidence to know that I had the answers, that I was a good person, and that I deserved to be happy – and to be more successful than my wildest dreams.

I began my path by taking a sincere personal inventory of my talents.

I wrote down every blessing I could think of ever achieving. At first it was difficult to see past my self-indulged pity party, but then the memories of everything I’ve been blessed with flowed onto several pages.

As the memories flowed, my confidence began to build. I reached out to trusted mentors, who reached back and built me up. I listened to many hours of podcasts, talks, and instructional and inspirational material to help me understand the source of my fears.

I found that when I am not true to myself and live for others, I kid no one.

No fear. Not anymore. Not one ounce. I am done being scared. I am done making decisions with fear. I am finished half-committing to my goals. I am done fooling around with my dreams…

Failure taught me whom to trust. Failure has shown me the true colors of my friends. Failure has whispered to me the things I am not willing to give up for a job or a promotion or a raise. Failure brought my values to light. Failure opened doors which always led to better success … failure has been good to me.

Fear of failure on the other hand has been nothing but a waste of precious time.

~ Farnoosh Brock

One aspect that lead to my panic and fear was finding a journal where I had written down goals ten years previous – and realized I had made little to no progress in achieving what I had committed to.

But when I chose to move to my future, and away from my past, I felt real power. I knew that I was solely responsible for my success. I couldn’t blame my failures of the past on anyone but me.

It is a long process, but every day it is worth the journey forward. I had a lot of help from family, friends, mentors, and a fantastic counselor.

If you are feeling down and out – if you are feeling like a lamb instead of a tiger – it is time to take charge of your life. You deserve much better. You are capable of much better. You will be successful. At first the climb will be hard, slow, and steep. But then the miles begin to amass and you will begin to move forward with increasing speed.

If you’ve already made the climb, what was the turning point for you? What made the difference? What gave you the power to overcome?

[Graphic: Farnoosh Brock’s Confidence Building Series on ProlificLiving.com]

More from the “Life of Pi” by Yann Matel:

“I must say a word about fear. It is life’s only true opponent. Only fear can defeat life. It is a clever, treacherous adversary, how well I know. It has no decency, respects no law or convention, shows no mercy. It goes for your weakest spot, which it finds with unerring ease. It begins in your mind, always. One moment you are feeling calm, self-possessed, happy. Then fear, disguised in the garb of mild-mannered doubt, slips into your mind like a spy. Doubt meets disbelief and disbelief tries to push it out. But disbelief is a poorly armed foot soldier. Doubt does away with it with little trouble. You become anxious. Reason comes to do battle for you. You are reassured. Reason is fully equipped with the latest weapons technology. But, to your amazement, despite superior tactics and a number of undeniable victories, reason is laid low. You feel yourself weakening, wavering. Your anxiety becomes dread.

Fear next turns fully to your body, which is already aware that something terribly wrong is going on. Already your lungs have flown away like a bird and your guts have slithered away like a snake. Now your tongue drops dead like an opossum, while your jaw begins to gallop on the spot. Your ears go deaf. Your muscles begin to shiver as if they had malaria and your knees to shake as though they were dancing. Your heart strains too hard, while your sphincter relaxes too much. And so with the rest of your body. Every part of you, in the manner most suited to it, falls apart. Only your eyes work well. They always pay proper attention to fear.

Quickly you make rash decisions. You dismiss your last allies: hope and trust. There, you’ve defeated yourself. Fear, which is but an impression, has triumphed over you.

The matter is difficult to put into words. For fear, real fear, such as shakes you to your foundation, such as you feel when you are brought face to face with your mortal end, nestles in your memory like a gangrene: it seeks to rot everything, even the words with which to speak of it. So you must fight hard to express it. You must fight hard to shine the light of words upon it. Because if you don’t, if your fear becomes a wordless darkness that you avoid, perhaps even manage to forget, you open yourself to further attacks of fear because you never truly fought the opponent who defeated you.

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One thought on “Overcoming Fear

  1. Pingback: The Courage to Conquer | learnactshare

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