“You’ve got to jump off cliffs all the time and build your wings on the way down.” Ray Bradbury
Ray Bradbury was a great horror writer who was utterly without fear. He never went to college and did all his learning through reading everything including Shakespeare. Such was his confidence that he really didn’t care less if all the literary giants accepted him or not, but they did. He never even learned to drive. Best known for his science fiction, he wrote in very genre from fantasy to poetry and he wrote beautifully enough for adults and clearly enough for kids.
His advice to writers was: “You’ve got to jump off cliffs all the time and build your wings on the way down”. But isn’t this good advice for everyone? Don’t let fear hold you back from living life to the full – that’s the way you will grow wings and fly!
Ray Bradbury died at the age of 91 on the 5 June 2012.
“The way to develop self-confidence is to do the thing you fear and get a record of successful experiences behind you. Destiny is not a matter of chance, it is a matter of choice; it is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved.” William Jennings Bryan
William Jennings Bryan, (1860 – 1925) practiced law in Jacksonville. In 1887 he moved to Nebraska where he hope to start a political career. He was elected as a Democrat to the Fifty-second and Fifty-third Congresses. He was unsuccessful in his bid to be the Democratic candidate for President in 1896. 1900 and 1908. He became Secretary of State in the Cabinet of President Wilson and served from March 4, 1913, until June 9, 1915, when he resigned.
Much wisdom is to be gained from this quote by Bryan. You’re not going to get self-confidence if you wait passively for things to happen to you. You have to be proactive and facing your fears and achieving success can be a real confidence booster. It’s important to remember these achievements as ‘marker points’ on the journey of life. When you feel fearful or afraid, just remember all those things that you have successfully achieved and move forward in confidence.
“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.” Anna Eleanor Roosevelt
These words by Anna Eleanor Roosevelt (October 11, 1884 – November 7, 1962) really sum up her life experience of fear. She had a difficult childhood and despite the trappings of wealth, Eleanor had an unhappy childhood. Her father turned to alcohol for comfort at the death of his own mother and was away from home for long periods of time. Her mother also battled as she was disillusioned by her husband. Little Eleanor couldn’t help but become very aware of the the tension between her parents and at the young age of six took on mothering responsibilities towards her mother. This is so typical of a child brought up in a home with alcohol abuse. Eleanor’s mother, who was one of New York’s beauties at the time, intimidated her daughter making her very self-conscious. She even nicknamed her daughter ‘Granny’ because of her ‘very plain, old fashioned’ looks. As a result, Eleanor was a serious child.
At the tender age of 8 her mother died and Eleanor focused on getting attention from her father who she felt loved him. However, he died of alcoholism and depression some 19 months later. At the age of 10 Eleanor became an orphan and was cared for by her grandmother. Life improved for Eleanor when she attended Allenswood Academy in London in 1899. These were very happy years during which time she became socially and politically aware. She gained confidence and became more independent during this time. Much to her families horror she became involved in reform movements.
A chance encounter on a train led to a romantic involvement with her cousin Franklin D Roosevelt. Franklin’s mother disapproved of the relationship but after a 16 month engagement, they were married in 1905. To put it mildly, her mother-in-law was very interfering, and made many of the family decisions for Eleanor. Once Franklin Roosevelt’s political career developed, Eleanor was able to live a life released from the shackles of her mother-in-law. However, the marriage was not happy as her husband was continuously unfaithful. In the end the marriage was one of political convenience rather than a marriage based on love.
Franklin D Roosevelt became the 32nd President of the United States of Amercica serving between.March 4, 1933 – April 12, 1945
Closing words: Being rich doesn’t protect one from hardship. Hardships can be used for good, allowing us to gain courage and confidence. Keep moving forward and if there is something that you think you cannot do, face it and do it. If the idea came into your head in the first place, you can use the fear as a challenge from which to grow!
“I’m not afraid of storms for I’m learning how to sail my ship.” Louisa May Alcott
Fear can really stop us from living our lives to the full. Fear of rejection, fear of criticism, fear of facing new situations are a few in a long list. People with agoraphobia are even too afraid to go out of their homes into open spaces.
What do you fear? Some people find it difficulty to pinpoint exactly what they are afraid of, exactly what they are anxious about. If you can name your fear you’re in a much better position to overcome that fear.
You have 2 choices You can either live a life handicapped by fear, and miss out on all the excitement of living. In other words, you can stay in the harbor and never venture out in your ‘yacht’
You can face your fears, learn how to sail your ship and voyage to new horizons! Knowledge brings power and freedom from fear. The choice is yours!
For more information on how to overcome fear and learn how our thinking affects our mood, please click here.
This week’s Quote for Anxiety. “We must travel in the direction of our fear” by John Berryman.
Trying to escape or change directions to avoid our fears is actually just going to make matters worse. Applying brakes, doing U-turns in the road, stopping in the fast lane are all very dangerous. Go with your fear. You can even speak to your fear with words like “go on, do your worst to me, but I am not stopping!” The best way of conquering fear is to go with the fear.
A person who has a fear of elevators should get into the elevator, go up and down for as long as it takes for the fear to dissipate. It might be terrifying at first but actually the fear has no base in reality! Only by traveling in the same direction of our fear will we overcome that fear!
“We cannot escape fear. We can only transform it into a companion that accompanies us on all our exciting adventures.” Susan Jeffers
Once upon a time in a nearby valley there lived some people. Now, these people never dared to move from their valley because whenever they tried to do so by climbing the surrounding hills, they were met by an enormous giant who roared at them most ferociously. They were so terrified that they ran back into their valley as fast as ever their legs could carry them …. Determined never to venture forth again.
This had been going on for hundreds of years until one day, a new and brave king was chosen from among them. And he thought to himself, ‘This simply isn’t good enough! We never meet new people, never develop our trade and never make new friends. Indeed we are becoming very dull, ignorant and boring.’ The new king decided to journey out of the valley and beyond the hills all by himself and in spite of all dangers. He set off out of the valley with some feelings of trepidation and expected the giant to appear at any moment. Sure enough the giant appeared, horribly enormous and roaring most ferociously.
However, instead of running away as all of his people had done before, the king took one step forward. To his amazement the giant became one inch shorter. Thus encouraged, the king took one step forward. Eventually, when the king came right up to the giant he was so small that the king could hold him in his hand. The king then asked the giant his name. The giant replied. ‘My name is fear.’
The moral of the story?
Face your fears. That’s the only way to get rid of them, despite all the panicky feelings involved. Avoidance maintains the anxiety. Ask yourself, do you want to be like the King or the villagers?
“To combat fear, the best strategy is to learn to bring your attention back to the present” Richard Carlson
To conquer anxiety, it can help by asking yourself, what exactly are you afraid of. So many people say they don’t know but they just feel anxiety all the time. Just remember that anxiety has to do with future events and an unrealistic fear of future events.
Thoughts rush through your mind. Maybe thoughts like: “No point in going for the job interview, I know I’ll never get the job”. “No point going to that party, I probably won’t know anyone there anyway.”
The truth is that no-one does know what will happen in the future, let alone in the next hour or so, so it is better to stop predicting the future. When you find yourself negatively predicting the future, which by the way, is a source of anxiety, rein in your thoughts to the present, to reality!
Richard Carlson writes words of wisdom when he says “To combat fear, the best strategy is to learn to bring your attention back to the present”