The prison of fear is a death sentence
There is a prison that has an inmate population in the billions.
There is a prison that has an inmate population in the billions. It's a prison without walls, without barbed wire, without guards and without any physical barrier.
But it is the most effective prison in the whole world. Few escape it, but those who do find real and lasting freedom. That prison is in our minds.
It is a prison that holds back our initiative, our talent, our ability to express ourselves and, most of all, it holds back the fulfillment of our full potential as human beings.
That prison is fear. Our lives today are controlled by fear more than we know. Fear controls the choices we make, our actions, our habits and even our destinies. Fear has become one of the greatest threats to humanity in this day in its many forms.
Terrorism has become the pinnacle of fear worldwide. Recent events in the world have shown how fear can drive even those that are powerful to behave desperately and inhumanely. But the effect of fear on our personal lives is more damaging that any terrorist can ever hope to achieve.
Fear of life prevents most of us from living. Fear of life? Yes. "Too many people are thinking of security instead of opportunity. They seem to be more afraid of life than death." This observation was made by James F. Bymes.
Overcoming fear – the many faces of fear
In its extremes, fear in our personal lives causes anxiety and phobias. For people with such illnesses the prison of fear can seem like a death sentence.
Their lives may be totally controlled by fear, making life totally unenjoyable and everyday tasks a real struggle. Fortunately, this is not the most common manifestation of fear.
The far more destructive form of fear is one that we have come to accept because it is so common.
For example, I remember very clearly how when I was in my first year at university I met a lot of fellow students that were spreading fear everywhere they went.
They would say how difficult the first year of natural science studies was and how badly people were failing the course. They had all the statistics of how many people failed last year and the year before that.
They'd say things like "50 people failed that course last year." What they didn't tell you was that 400 people passed the same course last year.
All the seven years I was at university, were the same. Every year there were people speaking doom and failure. Often, it showed in the results they got.
They were the same people struggling to pass. I, and many others like me, got through it fairly unscathed. We chose to see the 90 per cent that passed and not the 10 percent that failed.
Overcoming fear – fear can stop you from progressing
There are those of you out there with brilliant business ideas. What holds you back is fear. You think about all the statistics of how many businesses fail every year, or what your friends and family will think of you if you quit your job to pursue your dreams.
The fear of not being able to pay your bills, fear of getting fired, fear of starting over and the fear of not having a job title all hold you back.
It is fear that keeps most of us in jobs we do not enjoy and, sometimes, that don't even meet our financial needs.
The fear of taking risks is one that few people are able to overcome. Risk is the potential harm that may arise from some present process or from some future event.
In every area of life risk-taking is a necessary thing. If you propose marriage to someone you have to take the risk that they may say no. If you are in a race you have to take the risk that you may lose miserably.
If you want to live life to its fullest you have to take the risk of failure. As Dorothy Thompson said: "Only when we are no longer afraid do we begin to live."
Fear will paralyse you if you do not deal with it. It will absolutely stop you from living a life that you desire. Recognise it. Conquer it.
Eleanor Roosevelt's advice is that "you gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face.
You must do the thing which you think you cannot do."