Fear is a natural and helpful response to danger. Without it you wouldn’t be able to avoid many accidents, which might lead to injury or even death. Fear can be helpful in the first moment or two of a disaster. If a bus is barreling down on you as you’re crossing the street, fear can be a great help in making dive out of the way. But fear can get out of hand. Instead of being your servant and protecting you, fear can become your master, destroying you. There are plenty of times when fear is not what you want controlling you. Fear can paralyze. Fear can make cowards of us all. Fear can stop you from pursuing the best and wisest course of action. Fear can stop you from preparing.
In the world in which you and I live, there are plenty of signals that danger is growing. The economy threatens to go into the tank, even worse this time. The rights and liberties we’ve enjoyed as Americans seems to be falling on our left and right like the little metal ducks at the shooting gallery. The basic decency of our neighbors is likewise going the way of the dodo. What will happen if a disaster strikes? Will the basic cohesion of our society stand the strain? In the face of such realities, it is no surprise that many give way to fear.
But fear is no good at bearing the weight of being a long term motivator. Without controls, fear will eat away like an acid. We need something sturdier. If the foundations of our society begin to crumble then there will be a crying need for courageous and fearless men and women to stand up. The future is deeded to the brave. So we need to learn to deal with fear. We need to practice the art of cultivating fearlessness.
How do you do that? Like any other virtue, courage must be gained by practice. Someone who is characterized by a pattern of fear will not, under the pressure of disaster, suddenly become fearless. Therefore, now, before the storm breaks, is the time to develop the habits of the brave. Aristotle, the great Greek philosopher, said that people can change their basic orientation in life through a process of daily actions. He taught that new practices consistently performed will beget new habits; that these habits, if they are practiced over and over, will produce new dispositions; and that these new dispositions will, over time, mold a renewed character. Every successful man or woman can attest to the wisdom of that scheme. If you wish to dispel a fearful character, you need to replace your fearful actions with courageous ones.
What are the practices that will get the ball rolling? Fearless people are not people who never experience fear; quite the contrary, in fact. Fearless people are often led to pursue vocations or hobbies that place them in danger often. Firefighters are a classic example. Most of us are not inclined to run into a burning building. It takes a special kind of man or woman. Firefighters fear death and injury like anyone else, but they don’t let their fears control them. Can you remake yourself into someone who is fearless in that same way? You can. All brave people have learned to discipline themselves in the face of fear. You can do so as well.
Life is filled with little dangers. Little worries and fears buzz about you daily like a cloud of gnats. How do you respond to the small dangers? If you practice fearlessness on these little worries, you’ll be better able to stand in the face of bigger dangers. If, when you begin to feel that first twinge of fear, you settle your soul and quiet your anxiety, you will begin to develop the habits needed for handling bigger fears. Like a swimmer who’s drowning, your fearful thoughts, like water in your lungs, must be pushed out and replaced with the oxygen of calm. The only way to defeat fear is by replacing it with fearless thoughts. Out with the bad; in with the good. You have to talk yourself out of a panic. Take a deep breath. Remember how seldom things have turned out as badly as you feared. And, as a Christian, remember that God has promised never to leave you or forsake you. Replace your anxiety with prayer, making your requests known to God (Philippians 4:6). And then, count your blessings. As trite and overused as that last piece of advice might be, it remains profoundly powerful. All brave people have the knack for finding the silver lining in the darkest cloud. Don’t fall for the lie that letting your fears control you is the “honest” thing to do. Every fact, including the “fact” that danger is come upon you, is capable of more than one interpretation. Fearless people see through the impending doom to an opportunity. You can do that too. If you continue to daily choose the habit of fighting fear in this way, doing daily battle with your little fears, a new habit of fearlessness will begin to define you. You will become fearless.
Armed with a disposition of fearlessness, you will be better prepared for the difficulties to come. If after all your labors of preparation, whether stockpiling food, or water, or ammunition, moving out of the city, or building a deep bunker, what good will it do if you end up panicking when the hard things begin to fall? Today is the time to begin practicing courage. Now is the time to cultivate fearlessness. With every bag of beans or solar generator you purchase, you can chase away your fears and lay hold of calmness. Choose the path of quiet resolve. Then, when the dark days come on in earnest, you will be fearlessly ready to act.
©2012 Off the Grid News