06 April, 2012

F is for Fear

You can find a full list of my A to Z challenge posts here. :)

I struggle with fear quite a lot, especially with my writing, and I wrote about it extensively when I was actively promoting the last Dubric novel, back in 2005-2006. This is a modified version of a couple of posts I made in 2006 and 2007, so some of you may have already read all or parts of this.


Fear is what keeps many of us succeeding. Not just in writing, but in all sorts of other things too.

And, you know, it's all in our heads.  We have to stop thinking it's real, or at least recognize it for what it is.

I'm going to be pulling some quotes from a particular body of work for this essay - they're far more eloquent and beautiful than what I can create - and I'd like to start with this one.

It is by will alone that I set my mind in motion.

Say it out loud, like you mean it. It's a POWERFUL sentence.

It's spoken by Piter DeVries, in the original David Lynch film. I thought it was Thufir Hawat speaking it in the book, but could I find it?? Noooo....  Still a great line, though.

It is by will alone that I set my mind in motion.


Let's bring up another quote, which actually prompted me to start this exercise - 

I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.
Only I will remain.

Yes, it's from Dune by Frank Herbert, and this particular quote is spoken by Paul Atreides (I think, our copy of the book isn't here in the house so I can't double check to be absolutely certain) and is the Bene Gesserit Litany Against Fear.

Anyway, with these two quotes from Dune in mind, I'd like to look at fear.

Experiencing fear has kept our species alive. I mean, look at the Dodo, which had so little fear that predators, including man, could walk right up to it and kill it to extinction. It's because of fear that we live. We have enough sense to not touch a hot stove, walk out into busy traffic, or step off the edge of a tall building. Fear is instinctual. Fear is a good thing. It gets our heart rate up, nudges adrenaline into gear, and helps us move quickly to get away from that saber toothed tiger, should the need arise.

It also gives us brain lock, which is why I've brought forth these quotes.

Our bodies and minds are programmed to the fight or flight response, along with the ever popular deer-in-headlights phenomena. It's not just on the highway with the semi barreling toward us that we get that lock up, it's when we're faced with a tough choice, or even a simple one. Many, many of us don't like to make decisions. For example - and a lot of you married folks will nod at this - my husband just about flat out refuses to pick a restaurant. "Whatever you want," he tells me, when all I want is not to have to pick this time. Some people freeze up when faced with what tie to wear. What shoes? Which insurance plan? Who to vote for? Often, to avoid making a choice, we make none at all until the decision is made for us, whether by circumstance or by someone else taking the lead. I believe that all comes down to fear - What if I make the wrong choice? What if I look stupid?

What if I fail?

Fear of failure is a huge problem. How many people never take a chance because of fear they might fail? Never approach the girl? Never apply for the better job? Never move out of their parents' home? Never send out their story?

Never even try?

It's that deer in headlights thing.  Brain lock.

Fear is the mind killer.
It is with will alone that I set my mind in motion.

Think about those two statements side by side.

Some days I have to remind myself to say both, back to back. And it helps.


Erin M. Hartshorn said...

Oooh, love the use of those quotes together. Thank you!


Nicole said...

Checking in with the A-Z! I enjoyed the advice and, of course, the great quotes.:)

Unknown said...

It is by alone---well said.

Look forward to your challenge run…
--Damyanti, Co-host A to Z Challenge April 2012

Twitter: @AprilA2Z