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True Heroes Manage Their Fear(s)

Some days are better than others for everyone. How would it be to live a life without fear? Norman Mailer wrote, “There are two kinds of brave men (women). Those who are brave by the grace of nature, and those who are brave by an act of will.” The latter is likely where most of us fall and the former sounds like the description of a character in one of Mailer’s novels.

The five most common fears: 1. unknown 2. failure 3. commitment 4. disapproval 5. success

These are only some amongst many and it does not even mention the fear of public speaking or the fear of death. Clearly the list is far from complete and please feel free to add your own buzzwords.

What does this have to do with personal heroism? Not everyone is Mother Teresa or plans to mount an assault on K2. Even something as simple as taking risks and being anxious and afraid to fail can qualify you as a hero. In fact, the great hockey player, Wayne Gretsky said, “If you never take the shot, you’ll never score the goal.” He had many more misses than shots in the net, but he never stopped trying and he continued to set career records until his retirement.

You can be a hero if you simply manage your fears. According to historian Michael Ingatieff, “Living fearlessly is not the same thing as never being afraid…Fear is a great teacher. What’s not good is living in fear, allowing it to define who you are. Living fearlessly means standing up to fear, taking its measure, refusing to let it shape and define your life.” It is not the absence of fear that makes someone a hero, rather the management of fear that gives you a chance. Take the risk, possibly fail and learn about yourself in the process!

• What’s your biggest fear(s)? • How do you manage it? • Recall a time when have you been your own hero? ©2015 Maureen Weisner

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