Everywhere I look I see fear.

Of course, most of the places I’m looking are online.

This is intentional of course. Fear is what our brains are wired for. Someone without fear likely doesn’t live very long. Fear keeps us safe.

What about when safety isn’t the goal?

Does fear keep us healthy?

Does fear keep us excited?

Does fear keep us happy?

Does fear keep us free?

Does fear keep us connected?

The answer to those are highly dependent on the situation, but in general, for all of them, I would say, “No. Not as a general rule.”

Fear keeps us distracted, focused on items someone else wants us to worry about, but not our own opportunities, our own happiness, our own lives.

The ironic part is that having this conversation with certain individuals, it becomes clear that when they think they are living without fear, they are simply living with a different fear.

Here’s a recent example:

Vaccines. A group I know is telling people to stop living in fear of the coronavirus. We don’t need the vaccine. These same people have their attention captured by the fear of the vaccine and big government. It’s a different fear than those who are worried about the health aspect, but a fear nonetheless. Breaking this wheel of fear is a major part of leadership. History has had trying times before, but we also had leaders. People who weren’t in feedback loops listening to polls and social media comments. People who were trying to steer instead of surfing on the popular sentiment. I won’t pretend to act as if I know the solution to the predicament mentioned, merely that both sides are presenting opposing fears that fight each other.

The Great Depression was a trying time. I recently read FDR’s first inaugural address and am in awe of how much of this needs to be repeated today, just as we are reaching the point in time that just about everyone who was alive when he said it is gone.

“…the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” is true more now than ever. If we could cast aside the fears, then perhaps we could talk. When both sides think that giving in means the literal end, no real conversation can be had. Fear stops the solutions. I’m not sure what to do about it, but one thing is for certain, we need inspiration now more than ever. The difference between FDR’s era and today, is that you don’t need to be president to call for unity. Everyone can do it in their own micro-communities.

P.S. I highly recommend reading the 1st inaugural address of FDR yourself: https://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/fdrfirstinaugural.html

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