How to Be Bold & Conquer Fear | Self-Improvement Podcasts

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Now on to today’s reading, which has been edited and adapted from How to Develop Your Will Power by Clare Tree Major, published in 1920.

THE most destructive force in the world is FEAR. Almost all failure and almost all crime can be traced to one form or another of this most prevalent evil. Fear is the father of doubt, and doubt is the murderer of success. It shows itself in many forms, from the physical fear which is part of our animal inheritance, to the more subtle and dangerous forms which attack our mental life and sap our strength at its very foundation.

Mental fear is more treacherous because it often clothes itself in fair disguises. As prudence, or caution, or the normal instinct of self-preservation, it masquerades so successfully that one often deceives oneself. Prudence and caution and the instinct for self-preservation are necessary and useful if they are inspired by reason, and not by fear — for fear cripples and destroys, it does not help.

Fear has absolutely no place in human life and development. It is an entirely extraneous and harmful emotion. It is born of an exaggeration (by the imagination) of the power of other things or conditions, until we believe it to be superior to our power. It is an entirely false and misleading attitude of mind. At the moment of crisis, when our need is the greatest, it betrays us to the very danger we fear by robbing us of the very qualities of mind which we need to overcome it.

Fear destroys mental balance. Under the influence of fear, you cannot perceive clearly, imagine truly, reason logically, nor act usefully. The only thing in the world worth fearing is FEAR.

If you have a problem to meet, fear will decrease or entirely destroy your power to meet it. Fear will build problems where none existed. Fear will create as much harm over something of its own imagining, as if the imagined thing were real. Let’s say you are sitting alone in the house after dark, thinking you hear robbers stealthily trying the windows, or creeping from door to door, or perhaps actually prowling about your rooms. You begin to suffer just as keenly, perhaps more so, than if the danger were real. There is nothing there, yet physically and nervously you have received as great a shock as if there were. This situation repeated sufficiently often will make you a nervous wreck, sacrificed not to danger, but to fear.

Or let’s say that you are an entrepreneur who organizes a business venture. You need more money than you possess. You sell stock, and a Board of Directors is elected. The business is successful, but you begin to fear that some of the directors are looking with envious eyes on the management, and will try to oust you. Your attention is distracted from the business; and your heretofore feeling of good-will toward the others is tinged with suspicion and then with dislike.

You resent the very interest which the directors are elected to show in the business. Sympathy is alienated. You lose your power, and the very catastrophe that you feared is realized. You became a sacrifice, not to your inability (for if you could succeed in the business for a time, you could do so for all time), but to the fear which destroyed you.

When the demon attacks you, remember to tell yourself, “There is nothing to fear but fear. Fear is my greatest enemy.” Do not fear yourself. Shyness, diffidence, hesitancy in meeting people or circumstances: these all stunt the growth and delay the development of the real individual. They are all the offspring of fear.

How many times has an opportunity come to you to do something for which you had not the nerve? You knew in your heart you could do it, but you lacked the courage to take hold. Some other person did the thing, and you knew afterward you could have done it better. You were defeated by yourself, by your fear.

Take this moment to get a grip on yourself. What other people have done, you can do. There is no power on which any other person can draw that is not also free to you. Banish the enemy fear, and you are the equal of any person. Don’t merely listen to these statements as sentences. Examine yourself to see if they are true.

Think of the number of times where fear has destroyed you. Try to find just one instance where fear has helped you. Count the times where you suffered the tortures of the damned through fear of things which you found afterwards were mere figments of your imagination.

See if fear is holding you back from something now. If you find a case against the enemy, declare war on it at once. Repeat to yourself firmly, each day, “I fear nothing. I am courage. I am power.” You cannot be fearful and courageous at the same time. The substitution of the courage thought will destroy your fear thought.

If you are shy in meeting people, substitute for the thought of yourself (which is causing the shyness) a tremendous interest in others. If you do not care what others think of you — and if your ideals in life are right — you will have no hesitancy in meeting them. If you are more interested in them and their ideas of life, more solicitous that they shall have pleasure, more keen to let them tell you something than listen to you, you will not only not have time to think about yourself and your painful embarrassment, but you will attain just the popularity which you fear that unpopularity is withholding from you.

Be a good listener. You will learn more, and people will love you. Do not fear people. If you feel a person is your superior in knowledge and experience, try to learn from them, but do not fear them. Keep your own ideal ahead of the greatest person you can possibly meet. Then you will feel that what you gain from them is a step to help you, not only to be equal, but to pass them by.

Know the power of your own will. Know always that you are on the road to the successful culmination of all your desires. Do not fear what others may do to you. No one can materially hinder you in the realization of your heart’s desire, if you have built up the will to aspire. Learn to joy in the battle, as a chance to prove your mettle.

Keep the Power thought, and though others may force you to change your course, they cannot affect the ultimate victory. Always associate in your mind the fulfilment with the desire. What you intensely and persistently demand of life, life will give you. Fear nothing, and there shall be nothing to fear. Never give up. You have never reached the limit of your own powers.

Why should you be content to suppose that you are near the limit. Make it a point in life to discover your own limit. Live up to all your present power. You may find both your power and your limit to exceed anything you have ever dreamed of.

Do not let yourself be blinded by a false fear. Do not fear for those you love. If your wife, your child, your friend is in danger, you will need all your mind and strength to help. You cannot afford to fail in the crisis because of the destructive influence of fear.

The surgeon’s hand must be steady and accurate. Fear would destroy its usefulness. The mind which loves must be steady and strong. Confusion bred by fear will kill its helpfulness. No real peril was ever averted by fear. Fear feeds on fears. Destroy the fear, and maintain your own power.

Fear for others is selfishness. It is not the harm to them we fear, but the unhappiness which may result to ourselves. Cultivate a keen trust in the power of others to take care of themselves. By surrounding your friends with thoughts of fear of accident and disease, you make precisely the mental atmosphere about them which will most surely leave them open to attack. By building up a mental atmosphere around them of quiet confidence in their powers, you help them to realize those powers.

Be a source of confident strength to your family and friends, not a disturbing menace through fear. Do not fear the future. Live the present to the best of your ability and leave the future to take care of itself. You are building the future in every detail of your present. Perform the details of today well. There is no future, only a persisting today. All that comes you are building now. If the foundation is good, you need not begin to worry about the roof. The mere fact that you cannot yet see the roof is no menace. You did not know today till today arrived. The future is not to be feared, because you do not know what it will contain.

Be certain of your own strength, and nothing can come in the future which you cannot meet. Never allow your imagination to picture anything in the future which you do not want. Remember that imagination is creative. It will build the good things through your thought of confident success; or it will build the bad things through your thought of apprehensive fear. It will carry out your will, your expectation. If you expect success, it will build success; if you expect failure it will build failure. Keep your imagination free from fear.

Destroy superstition. Do not fear the invisible. Do not fear for the life after death. Everything you are and can be you are here and now. All power for which you yearn is yours: here and now. It is time to set free your will to find and be yourself. You are the god enthroned. You are yourself invisible. You are yourself Life. There can be no death for you.

When you discard the physical body which shall then have become unfit for your use, you will not have changed. You will continue your life in its natural home and environment. There can be nothing for you to fear outside the body — from whence you came to physical birth. The greater part of your present life is apart from the physical; can it harm you to cast off this body which you have borrowed for a moment?

Know yourself a part of the Divine thought which created creation. Affirm always your high begetting and your high calling. Make of every circumstance an opportunity for your own growth. Nothing in this world can harm you — the real you, the real Self. If nothing can harm you there is nothing to fear. Make the following affirmations your daily, dominant thought:

I am Myself, indestructible, invincible.

I am Courage, unshakable, unflinching.

I am Power, I cannot be defeated. I cannot Fear.

I am confident of success, physical, social and business.

I know nothing but good can come to me or mine.

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