Perhaps the greatest challenge that you will ever face in life is the conquest of fear and the development of the habit of courage. Fear is, and always has been the greatest enemy of mankind. When Franklin D. Roosevelt said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself,” he was saying that the emotion of fear, rather than the reality for what we fear, is the cause of the associated anxiety, stress and unhappiness. When we develop the habit of courage and unshakable self-confidence, a whole new world of possibilities opens up to us. Think about it; what would you dare to dream, be or do if you were not afraid of anything in the whole world?

Fortunately, the habit of courage can be learned, just as any other skill is learned. The root cause of fear is childhood conditioning that caused us to experience two types of fear: the fear of failure, which cause us to think, I can’t; and the fear of rejection, which cases us to think, What will happen?

Based on those fears, we become preoccupied with the idea of losing our money, our time, our emotional investment in a relationship. We become hypersensitive to the opinions and possible criticism of others, sometimes to the point where we are afraid to do anything that anyone else might disapprove of. Our fears tend to paralyze us, holding us back from taking constructive action in the direction of our dreams and goals.

Once you’ve recognized the factors that can cause fear, the second step in overcoming, is to objectively define and analyze your own fears. At the top of a sheet of paper, write down the question: “What am I afraid of?”

Remember, all intelligent people are afraid of something. It is normal and natural to be concerned about your physical, emotional and financial survival. The courageous person is not a person who is unafraid. As Mark Twain said, “Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear; not absence of fear.” The courageous person is simply one who goes forward in spite of the fear.

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