Fear is the Mind-Killer

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Many of us might be familiar with the notion that the only constant in life is change. Last year brought it with a resounding echo of that lesson, blasting us with drastic transformations from just the year before. This year, like last, was likewise radically different for a host of reasons. Maybe our jobs changed. Maybe the faces in our life changed. Whatever it was, we all experienced recent and countless changes.

Jacquelyn Smith, writing for Forbes, notes that change invokes feelings of discomfort and even fear. To counter this, Smith delineates a few strategies for coping with fear of workplace change, including dedicating time to be afraid. Worrying over change is natural, and instead of allowing it to pollute our whole day, we can try to schedule it into our day. During this scheduled worry time, we ought to strategize plans of action should our worries bear fruit. Having plans in place could help alleviate the stress of upcoming change. Hope for the best but prepare for the worst, as goes the idiom.

With the new year on the horizon, it’s expected that we welcome change with open arms, even going so far as to declare resolutions for change. Therapist Andrea Brandt, Ph.D, in this piece for Psychology Today, observes, “We’re afraid of change because we don’t know what the future in which we accept change looks like, but we think we know what the future will look like if we reject it. The problem is that it just isn’t true.” We just don’t know what the future will bring, no matter what we do. None of us are Paul Atreides of Dune.

On that note, among the year’s most notable films, Dune revisits Frank Herbert’s Litany Against Fear from the venerated novel, with the oft-quoted line, “I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer.” In this video, writer Brett Seegmiller discusses how the novel’s fear mantra sheds inspiration to brave the tides of change. “The Litany Against Fear does not say that it’s wrong to experience fear, but that we have to acknowledge fear for what it is…However, if permitted, fear can also prevent us from doing the bold or right thing that may very well be the action that enriches our lives.”

Change will happen whether we resist or embrace it. Fear of change does not deter it. Going into the new year, be sure to take a deep, calming breath as if about to step into the waters of a pool–shocking at first, but gradually welcoming. Go forward boldly, and remember that we must not fear.

“The art of life is a constant readjustment to our surroundings.”
— Kakuzo Okakaura

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