Fear of fear itself

Fear can paralyze. Fear can discourage. Fear can devastate. Fear can destroy. Seventy-five years ago Franklin Roosevelt told a shaken nation that all we have to fear is fear itself. I’ve often considered those words and thought What? We have so many things to fear, and perhaps now more than any time in recent memory.

First are our own personal fears stemming from our unique experiences, often called PTSD.  Wakened at night by a strange sound, I am paralyzed by fear, remembering an attack by an late night intruder years ago. It’s irrational because in the room with me is a dog and a husband who will come to my defense with barks, growls and if necessary, a gun. Still I’m struck dumb, heart pounding.

Another personal fear for me is fear of another stroke. What if it’s the BIG ONE?  What if I’m no longer able to walk or to talk? Will life be worth living?

Agoraphobia makes affected persons home-bound, sometimes for years. Fear of flying can severely curtail ones travel. Fear of germs can make the sufferer AND those around him miserable.

Other fears are near universal — fear of public speaking, fear of failure at our most cherished dream (writing, music, comedy, professional sport) and of course, fear of death.

What if we ignored those fears and just went ahead and did our best at whatever we love doing?  What if we didn’t worry about “doing it right” or what others might think?

Imagine our world if the great innovators and leaders had let fear of failure stop them: Thomas Edison, Madam Curie, the Wright Brothers, Nicola Tesla, Bill Gates, Elon Musk and thousands more. Imagine a world made a little better if we, free of fear, contribute our best to our own tiny corner of the world.