Take a Leap of Faith
“So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.” This famous quote by Franklin D. Roosevelt during his 1933 inaugural address still resonates with people today.
Although his address referred to the great financial depression of that era, this particular quote can be applied to other aspects of people’s lives. How many of us are held back from realizing our true potential by fear?
I once wrote an article based in part on a self-help book by Susan Jefffers, Ph.D., entitled “Feel The Fear, And Do It Anyway.” The book’s premise was that nearly everyone experiences fear of change or the unfamiliar, but in order to achieve personal growth we must overcome that fear and move forward. That is easier said than done.
Many of us stubbornly hold on to people or situations to our detriment, merely because they are familiar. We get stuck in the past due to fear of the uncertain future. We are afraid to move forward, yet bemoan the fact that our lives are going nowhere.
Self-defeating patterns of thought and behavior are often well engrained in us. Even if intellectually we recognize these patterns, it is not easy to change them. It takes a conscious and concerted effort to step out of our “comfort zone.” But for many of us, making a major change is akin to standing at the edge of a chasm and stepping off. Will we get hurt, or land on our feet?
“It is reported that over 90 percent of what we worry about never happens,” Jeffers wrote. “All you have to do to diminish your fear is to develop more trust in your ability to handle whatever comes your way. The only way to get rid of the fear of doing something is to go out and do it.”
Taking that first step is the hardest. It is difficult to take that leap of faith, but after each time you cross a fear boundary the next time is less frightening. Eventually you look back and wonder, “What was I afraid of?”
We all experience fear. The trick is to acknowledge it, but not let it stop you. Be willing to let go of old beliefs and behaviors that are holding you back. Move through the fear and experience the wealth of self-confidence and new experiences that lay beyond. Each step forward makes the next one a little easier.
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