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We Grow Strong or We Grow Weak

Consider this from Katharine Butler Hathaway, “If you let fear of consequence prevent you from following your deepest instinct, then your life will be safe, expedient and thin.”

The implication here is that fear of consequence is pretty normal; so having some, or maybe even a lot, isn’t that much of a big deal. The big deal is having a life that is safe, expedient, and thin. What the problem with this actually is remains hidden; so you are simply expected to intuit it, it seems. The rub is that you have little faith in your abilities and less faith in your basic grasp or understanding of situations or circumstances. Since you don’t believe that you can trust your judgment or instinct, you don’t take a chance on yourself. You likewise don’t have much faith in your ability to anticipate or predict the behavior of other people. Your belief is that you cannot predict if a specific action of yours will lead to good or bad outcomes. Usually, you think the likely outcome of following your judgment will be bad. You don’t trust yourself and feel that any errors or mistakes you might make will likely be just another example of your screwing up. Given that reality, a life that is safe, expedient, and thin sounds like a reasonable alternative. There is a potential glitch in going with the safe alternative, though. Brooke Foss Westcott described it this way, “Silently and imperceptibly, as we wake or sleep, we grow strong or we grow weak, and at last some crisis shows us what we have become.” Fortunately, Eleanor Roosevelt suggested another alternative that you may want to consider. “I believe that anyone can conquer fear by doing the things he fears to do, provided he keeps doing them until he gets a record of successful experiences behind him.”

Sure, conquering fear sounds good in theory; but it’s certainly easier said than done. As you weigh your choices, Glenn Turner’s point deserves your attention, “Worrying is like a rocking chair: it gives you something to do, but it doesn’t get you anywhere.” Ruth Gordon also joined the fear fighters, “Courage is like a muscle; it is strengthened by use;” and as you might have expected, the famous Anon. added a tidbit as well, “The mighty oak was once a little nut that stood its ground.”

Since the Fear vs. Safe debate can’t be resolved here, another thought or two will be enough for now. Haddon W. Robinson said, “What worries you, masters you;” and Roger Babson said, “If things go wrong, don’t go with them.” There you go. Do what you need to do, when you need to do it; and while you’re at it, adopt the Charlie Brown philosophy for fear management, “I’ve developed a new philosophy … I only dread one day at a time.”

Now you know so there you go.