“Doubt and fear are the great enemies of knowledge, and she who encourages them, who does not slay them, thwarts herself at every step.” — As A Man Thinketh
I’ve heard it said that we’re born with only a few fears — like the fear of falling and the fear of loud noises. All other fears we learn along the way. Like the fear of failure, the fear of rejection – even a fear of success. I believe our greatest enemy in life is fear, because fear keeps us from doing many of those things we would like to do that would make our life more complete and more enjoyable.
Doubt is the first cousin of fear and precedes it. We weren’t born with doubt. Our habit of doubt has grown throughout our life. If we dwell on a doubt and give in to it, it then grows into fear. In his epistle, the ancient writer James reminds us that doubt makes us ineffective, “a doubtful mind will be as unsettled as the wave of the sea that is tossed and driven by the wind; and every decision you then make will be uncertain, as you turn first this way, and then that.”
If most of our fears and all of our doubts are learned along the way, then we can “unlearn” them by becoming masters of our thoughts. I once heard Zig Ziglar quote Mark Twain when he said, “True courage is not the absence of fear, it’s the mastery of fear.” The people who live the life of their dreams have just as many fears as those who live miserable, unfulfilled lives – they have just learned to master their fears instead of allowing their fears to master them.
Norman Vincent Peale, writing in You Can If You Think You Can, provides us with a prescription for mastering fear and doubt. “You can cancel out fear with faith. For there is no force in this world more powerful than faith. The most amazing things can happen as a result of it…There are two massive thought forces competing for control of the mind: fear and faith, and faith is stronger, much stronger. Hold that thought of faith’s greater power until you believe it, for it can be the difference between success and failure.”
And that’s worth thinking about.
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