When U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt was inaugurated in 1933, the Great Depression was loosening its grip on businesses, global economies, and families struggling to put food on the table. Things were pretty rough, back then, as they are for a lot of people, today.
In his inaugural address to the nation and the world, Roosevelt sought to restore people’s confidence in the economy and themselves by uttering these simple but profound words that were heard by millions of people on their living room radios:
The only thing we have to fear is fear itselfFranklin D. Roosevelt
With those reassuring words, he reminded a battered nation that better days were ahead and the power to rebound rested squarely in the strength of their thoughts.
Why would fear be a thing to be afraid of? Simply put: Fear robs people of confidence, initiative, and faith in their ability to prevail in the face of difficult circumstances. The global pandemic that confronts us today is having that kind of effect on people that are out of work, struggling to keep their businesses afloat, or simply afraid to leave the house or send their kids to school.
Understanding the Real Enemy: FEAR
The nature of fear, however, is that it tends to grow and expand in direct proportion to how much attention is given to it. The more attention you give to something that scares you, the more threatening, imminent, and powerful it becomes… at least in your mind. People who “catastrophize” imagine and focus on the worst possible outcomes, and often undermine their own chances to solve a problem or make the best of a situation. The ability to handle challenges, deal with a crisis, or even take advantage of opportunities is thwarted by negative feelings like fear, discouragement, and self doubt.
As Roosevelt and many others have said throughout the ages, fear — and our negative thoughts and attitudes — can be our worst enemy. On the other hand, courage, faith, and initiative can open up doors of opportunity, security, and abundance that might otherwise have been closed tight and inaccessible. I like the quote by writer Anais Nin:
Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courageAnais Nin
Iconic British Prime Minister Winston Churchill also was ffered so we wise words about fear, courage, failure, and success:
Fear is a reaction; courage is a decision.Winston Churchill
Churchill is also known to have uttered these timeless words:
Success consists of going from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.
That positive way of perceiving “failure” makes it much less discouraging, and focuses on the fact that failure is often a stepping stone to success, goal accomplishment, and achievement.
Thanks for checking out my blog post on dismantling fear, motivating yourself to overcome discouragement, and strengthening your ability to think positively.
Hope to have you on board for future blog posts!