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Fear Of Consequence

“If you let fear of consequence prevent you
from following your deepest instinct, then your life will be safe, expedient
and thin.” — Katharine Butler Hathaway

The implication here is that fear of consequence is pretty
normal; so having some, or maybe even a lot, isn’t that much of a big deal. The
big deal is having a life that is safe, expedient, and thin. What the problem
with this actually is remains hidden; so you are simply expected to intuit it,
it seems. The rub is that you have little faith in your abilities and less
faith in your basic grasp or understanding of situations or circumstances.
Since you don’t believe that you can trust your judgment or instinct, you don’t
take a chance on yourself. You likewise don’t have much faith in your ability
to anticipate or predict the behavior of other people. Your belief is that you
cannot predict if a specific action of yours will lead to good or bad outcomes.
Usually, you think the likely outcome of following your judgment will be bad.
You don’t trust yourself and feel that any errors or mistakes you might make
will likely be just another example of your screwing up. Given that reality, a
life that is safe, expedient, and thin sounds like a reasonable alternative. There
is a potential glitch in going with the safe alternative, though. Brooke Foss
Westcott described it this way, “Silently and imperceptibly, as we wake or
sleep, we grow strong or we grow weak, and at last some crisis shows us what we
have become.” Fortunately, Eleanor Roosevelt suggested another alternative
that you may want to consider. “I believe that anyone can conquer fear by
doing the things he fears to do, provided he keeps doing them until he gets a
record of successful experiences behind him.”

Sure, conquering fear sounds good in theory; but it’s certainly
easier said than done. As you weigh your choices, Glenn Turner’s point deserves
your attention, “Worrying is like a rocking chair: it gives you something
to do, but it doesn’t get you anywhere.” Ruth Gordon also joined the fear
fighters, “Courage is like a muscle; it is strengthened by use;” and
as you might have expected, the famous Anon. added a tidbit as well, “The
mighty oak was once a little nut that stood its ground.”

Since the Fear vs. Safe debate can’t be resolved here, another
thought or two will be enough for now. Haddon W. Robinson said, “What
worries you, masters you;” and Roger Babson said, “If things go wrong,
don’t go with them.” There you go. Do what you need to do, when you need to do
it; and while you’re at it, adopt the Charlie Brown philosophy for fear
management, “I’ve developed a new philosophy … I only dread one day at a time.”

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