ground hero

Feel the fear and go for it.

I never tire of this advice, although it is easier said than done – then again most worthwhile things are. Anne Frank said an extraordinary and challenging thing, “How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.”

More often than not the biggest thing standing between me and making the world a better place is the fear that I won’t pull it off, that the task at hand is simply too big so there’s really no point. When this mode of thinking overwhelms me I am always grateful for reminders that fear itself, is as Franklin D. Roosevelt said, the only thing we have to fear; and we will never really know what we are capable of until we try.

I love Wayne Dyer’s take on this dilemma, “Failure does not exist. Failure is simply someone else’s opinion of how a certain act should have been completed. Once you believe that no act must be performed in any specific other-directed way, then failing becomes impossible.” I also agree with Raymond Lindquist that courage often lies in letting go of the familiar, whether it’s the familiar definition of who we are, what we are capable of or even how, or whether, the world can be changed. To, as Theodore H. White says, go against the dominant thinking of your friends, of most of the people you see every day, is perhaps the most difficult act of heroism you can perform.

Being courageous doesn’t mean that fear necessarily disappears from your life. Eddie Rickenbacker hits the nail on the head: “Courage is doing what you’re afraid to do. There can be no courage unless you’re scared.” So, I take heart and also remind myself that as Mary Anne Radmacher puts it, “Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, ‘I will try again tomorrow.'”

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