President Franklin D. Roosevelt, during one of his four inaugural speeches uttered some famous lines about fear; “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.” Some commentators look into the events of the day and point to the meaning behind FDR’s words – the Great Depression. Among many other things, fear played a major part in creating the Great Depression. Our friends at “Ask Yahoo” interpret what he was saying like this: “’if we can’t shake our pessimistic economic outlook, it will be tough to turn things around.’ President Roosevelt was calling for a little irrational exuberance…’’
Fear has some good elements and some bad elements.
Fear can be bad if it prevents us from moving ahead. Fear can prevent the shy college student from talking to the girl sitting next to him in class. Fear can cause us to take a different career path just because we think we can’t do the work. Fear can cause a spouse to undermine the marital relationship.
But fear can, as FDR urged, be turned around. If we choose to look at the positive side of our fear, it can motivate us to make changes in our thinking and in our behavior. The young man with Aspergers Syndrome overcomes his fear of unknown places and people and brings himself into the counseling office so he can learn how to have a conversation with a girl. Fear of being stuck in a dead end job motivates a man in his 30s to join some family members in a promising new business. And fear of losing a relationship motivates a couple who once thought they could “live on love” to make an appointment with a marriage counselor.
So what is your fear? Decide today to turn your fear into some “irrational exuberance” in order to change your life.