… A father had three sons. Once he decided to test all three of them. So, he gave them all equal sum of money and told them to come back home after one year. They did return exactly after one year. Father asked what happened with the money he had given. First one had many vices, the number of his friends grew suddenly as he got the money. He lost all of it on wine, women and friends. He came home broke. The father was furious with him. The second son had invested in some business, managed it well and returned home with profits. He paid his father the principal amount that was given initially. Then came the third son and before father could say anything, he started, “I knew you are a shit of a father! I knew all the way that you’ll ask your money back. So I didn’t do anything with your money and had kept all the money here itself all the while, hidden in an urn underground!” Father pointed his finger towards the third and said thus, “I wish you were not my son. Son, you can either swim across or get drowned if you take a plunge in the river but, sitting idle at the banks and not having the courage to take initiative for you is what proves you to be worse than the first one also!”
Man, if alive, is bound to have fear. Fear of open space, fear of closed space, fear of height, fear of animal, fear of reptiles or spiders, fear of public speaking, fear of flying, fear of swimming, fear of contamination, fear of failures, fear of death … You name it and we have a fear of it! Some of them rational, some of them irrational, some of them logical, some illogical, some morbid, some benign, some less, some in plenty! It is our rational fear of dying that we don’t jump off the tall buildings. It is our logical fear of stage that we all are not good public speaker or actors. But sometimes we take the concept of fear too seriously to let us perform at all!
Last year, I drove all the way from Kohima in Nagaland to Guna in MP, India in my car. Near Bundel-khand, though on either side of the highway there was negligible greenery, but there I saw the ugliest Scarecrows ever in the field! … And what more, there was a whole flock of birds chirping on nearby structures – as if actually frightened by the scarecrows, and yet, there were a couple of birds on the scarecrow itself – having had their fill already! Does not that remind us of our own lives? … Of those, who fear these Scarecrows and those who do not? People who fear these Scarecrows, you can see in lots ‘chirping’ among themselves, oblivious of their failures. And if you look around you, you’ll always find at least some, who did not fear these. You can identify them by the determined look they have on their faces and by the toiling hours they put in one goal – to just do it. One may not be a bigwig but you can see the urge to become one there already. These are the enterprising ones who do not care for their personal comforts but persevere and persevere hard to change the destiny. These are the ones, whom fear also shudders to come near! Well, not all of them are going to become a Dhirubhai Ambani or Bill Gates – but at least they tried. And don’t we know folks, that all long marches begin with a tiny step and similarly all the riches begin with a penny itself! Look at China! It is what it is today because of the feeling of enterprise in its population. 15 years back it was started by a small group of people – they started with cottage industries – then others got inspired – then others – then still others! Now Chinese goods have captured the majority of markets. What is it that we fear in taking these steps ourselves? Why do we keep sitting at the bank itself? Had we taken the plunge, we would have changed our picture also. And how unfounded our fears are…? We may fear going out that some vehicle may hit us, but sitting at home also we can die – if an earthquake decides so! Yet, there are others, who fear the consequences of an unsuccessful attempts and what others will say about it. I just want to tell them, “Don’t worry about what others are going to think of you …They won’t! They’re too busy worrying about what you’ll think of them when they fail!” Who has not failed even once in his life?
“I have been through some terrible times in my life, some of which actually happened.” – Mark Twain
Excessive fear about anything is known as “Phobia” and one should take steps before fear gets converted into phobias, like, phobia of failure. Our problem isn’t that we have these uncomfortable feelings called fear or phobia; it’s what those feelings do to us. We feel threatened by people, places, situations and things that are no threat to us at all, sometimes so threatened that these fears plunge us into depression. When we dream about doing things that would be pleasant or productive, fear comes in and squelches those dreams. Fear interferes with healthy relationships and causes us to imagine and react to conflict that isn’t there, creating the very conflict we imagined. Fear and phobia causes us to always focus on the worst possible outcome to any situation. Well, let me make one point very clear in the end, whatever is written here on this page, is not going to make your fear or phobia clinically any better! The intention is, to make you look inside you, do some introspection and think why do you not look beyond the imminent hurdles – if there is at all any! … Why to fear the Scarecrows!