Overcoming Fear

"Only Thing We Have to Fear Is Fear Itself": FDR's First Inaugural Address.

Images-1 I've been quoting FDR's "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself" line to all and sundry lately.  I really believe it's true: I'm watching fear motivate all kinds of goofy, panic-stricken, bad-for-business decisions.  And I'm watching other people take a deep breath, put aside fear, and just figure out how to operate in the current circumstances – and how to succeed.

So I decided to look up the actual speech from which that quote came – and his words are eerily applicable to our current situation.  Here's the opening paragraph:

I am certain that my fellow Americans expect that on my induction into the Presidency I will address them with a candor and a decision which the present situation of our people impel. This is preeminently the time to speak the truth, the whole truth, frankly and boldly. Nor need we shrink from honestly facing conditions in our country today. This great Nation will endure as it has endured, will revive and will prosper. 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. In every dark hour of our national life a leadership of frankness and vigor has met with that understanding and support of the people themselves which is essential to victory.

Being in fear is tremendously distracting and limiting.  Fear shrinks our point of view: we don't see things clearly; we miss important facts; we have a hard time stepping back and looking at the broader frame.  Fear can rob us of our clarity when we need it most.

It's critical to remember, in situations like our current economy, that you can manage your fear by managing your self-talk.

Posted in Current Affairs

About Erika Andersen

Over the past 30 years, Erika has developed a reputation for creating approaches to learning and business-building that are custom tailored to her clients’ challenges, goals, and culture.

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