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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Fear not, but be not the fool...


“When we’re afraid, it’s because we don’t know enough. If we understood enough, we would never be afraid.” (Earl Nightengale), from the Jack’s Winning Words blog.

This is an interesting quote, because it give one great latitude to expand upon the basic premise. I’ve often commented in my blogs about fear and how it drives people’s behavior. Fear most often freezes people in their tracks. Fear prevents people from doing things, some of which are important to their success. Certainly taking the time to understand what  it is you are fearing and why will help you get over those fears and move on in life.

Most of the fears that people have in life grow out of ignorance – not knowing or not understanding.  However, there is another reaction to ignorance that some occasionally display – foolhardiness. The old saying “fools rush in where wise men fear to go” is based upon that premise. So perhaps Nightengale should have added that if we understood enough we would also not do stupid things.

That brings me around to a thought that I saw today in the Frank & Ernest cartoon in the paper the gist of which is “what makes life so scary is that there are no betting limits.” People without fear take life threatening risks, sometimes completely out of ignorance of the possible consequences. The difference between the professional stunt man who drives a car off the end of a pier into the sea and walks away, verses some idiot, who does the same and dies, is that the stunt man understood the risks, took the necessary precautions and was prepared. The ignorant person just did it on a dare. The problem was there were no betting limits on that fool.

Most of us impose our own betting limits in life through wisdom, common sense, our conscience; and yes, sometimes through fear.  If a person is missing one or more of these, life could be a short adventure indeed. So, I guess the moral today is that sometimes fear might be good as a betting limit on the truly stupid things we might do in life; however, understanding the things that you fear is the best way to overcome our fears and make the best decisions in life.

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