Success vs. Failure
No Fear Mesa - Part 1

Fear . . . dogs the steps of each of us, doesn’t it?

You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face.
You are able to say to yourself, “I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along . . . .”
You must do the thing you think you cannot do.
(Eleanor Roosevelt)

Fear (as I have said elsewhere) is what I call “the real F-word.” It is utterly damaging, universal in human experience, and it has the power to trap us in talons that are more tenacious than those possessed by any birds of prey. Fear is a thief, a robber of joy, a disturber of serenity, a force that plunders the human heart.

As Edmund Burke has said, “No passion so effectively robs the mind of all its powers of acting and reasoning as fear.”

In other words, fear paralyzes both the mind and the body. If you can identify with the feeling of being so frightened that you are frozen in place and cannot move – recognize that fear causes the same paralysis in the mind as well.

But if it is so damaging . . . why do we put up with it? Why do we entertain fear like a visiting relative we can’t get shed of?

Sometimes, I think it is because – it is the best excuse for inaction that exists.

“Fear wears many masks. It is what often lies behind my facade of
silent scorn, passive refusal, a half dead state of no feeling.
I can wrap the cloak of fear around me and say, ‘No.’
‘No, I will not go.’
‘ No, I have nothing to say.’
‘No, I can’t do it.'”

The truth is, we often fear success as much as we fear failure.

As an entertainer I have experienced fear many times. It strikes me in widely varying degrees every time I perform. The trouble is, fear is just as active when you succeed as when you fail. If I have no work as a performer I fear that I won’t get work. But when I get work as a performer then I fear I won’t perform well enough to keep the work. It is a vicious cycle. If I am applauded in my performance, then I fear I may not be as good the next time.

Fear has me “by the short hairs” in those moments. But underlying this teeter-totter back-and-forth of emotions is the desire for inaction, the longing for a safe haven where nothing is risked, but everything is gained, a respite from the storm of inner struggle and doubt.

Fear keeps me out of the moment I am in, possessing my mind so that I am constantly either looking into the past, or into the future.

FEAR destroys the HERE and NOW. It takes our lives.


  1. Fear can often trap me as well – trying to learn how to model dealing with it differently so that my kids can learn that. Thanks always for sharing!

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