Some time ago I collected a bunch of blog posts and threads into a little book whose name is still the subtitle of this site: Refuse to be Afraid. Free yourself. Dream. A few people have purchased or otherwise seen the book, and I’d like to believe it’s done some small good in the world.
I browsed through it again Thursday morning. It’s still timely – probably always will be as long as people use fear to try to control other people. It seems today more than ever, the fear mongers are loose on the streets and airwaves and bandwidth everywhere. And so I’d like to quietly remind you of my little book of pep talks, which concludes with a confession:
A funny thing happened to me on my way toward producing a book called Refuse to be Afraid, designed to help people overcome the everyday and extraordinary fears that stand in the way of their freedom and their dreams.
I got scared.
What if everyone already knows this stuff and I’m the last to figure it out? What if I help everyone overcome their fears and it turns out it was good to be afraid — after all, just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean someone isn’t really out to get you? What if I’m just writing a collection of clichés that no one can take seriously? What if — What if — ?
It took two or three extra years for me to finish this book, because I didn’t follow the advice I was laying out in this book. So I bring you these suggestions from personal experience and to say: I know how you feel. I’ve been there. …
The evidence that my fears were ungrounded is right here: You’re reading the book I was afraid would be ignored and dismissed, the thoughts that I was afraid to share under my own name.
You can get past your fears, too. It gets easier with every step you take — but make no mistake, the fear will never completely go away.
So: you’re scared. So am I — some days more than others. The first step was recognizing that almost all of the time, I was afraid of nothing. I learned that fear is an irrational and useless emotion. It is a seductive and dangerous force that urges us to stay in our comfort zones: Anything more than the quotidian, the familiar, is scary — sometimes a little scary, sometimes downright frightening.
But you were made for more than this. Refuse to be afraid. Free yourself. Dream. And you will succeed.
There are at least three ways to get hold of Refuse to be Afraid, four if you include searching through my blogs for the original entries.
Yes, this is a pitch for you to separate yourself from a few pennies. I continue to believe you could use this message for those days when you’ve had enough of the overwhelming message of the age: Be afraid! It’s a scary world! You can’t protect yourself from the monsters! We can rescue you!
They’re lying to you. Refuse to be afraid. Free yourself. Dream.