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Conquering Fear

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Wednesday, February 17th, 2016
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I would like to share the story below, before I talk about my personal experience of   conquering fear.

‘Legend has it that Nasrudin was walking alone at night when he saw a group of people approaching in the far distance. Instantly, his imagination began to toy with him: “They are surely robbers!” he thought. “No, why just robbers? Murderers, cutthroats! About to set upon me, a lonely traveller, leave me for dead and steal all my possessions! How are my wife and children going to cope without me?!” Nasrudin’s heart began to pound. His mouth became as dry as his palms became wet. He shook from head to toe and found himself breathing like an unfit man running to the finishing line of his first marathon.

Having thoroughly terrified himself, he stumbled into a nearby graveyard and cowered, shaking inside an open tomb, awaiting his fate. Meanwhile, the harmless strangers, worried by his dramatic behaviour, approached him and looked with concern down into the tomb. “What, pray, are you doing down there?” they asked. Nasrudin, calming down quickly, said: “Well, put it this way: I am here because of you and you are here because of me!”

Imagination is a tool to be used, but how many people misuse it to torment themselves? Imagination and emotionality are closely linked and what we imagine can feel very real to us – even when it isn’t at all.

 

Conquering fear as an eight year old.

As an eight year old girl, my fears bordered on losing my friends in school.  I enjoyed  games like ‘Ten Ten’, ‘Suwe’, and ‘Who is in the garden?’ with my girl friends at school, particularly because I had no sister that I could play with at home. I held on to my friends at all costs, for fear of being alone, until I realized that some of my peers realized I had this fear, and they exploited this weakness.

One day, a ‘friend’ asked me to lend her my science notebook to enable her copy notes from missed lessons. I gave her the notebook and asked that she return  it to me the next day to enable me read my notes for our exams the following week. The next day, she did not return the notebook. She apologised that she forgot it in her mum’s car. The day after, I asked her for my notebook again, and she said she forgot it at home. This was a week to our exams, so I protested. I insisted on getting my notebook the next day, or I would report her to our class teacher. She then threatened that if I did, she would tell all our friends not to play with me. She repeated this threat on 2 consecutive days and knowing she was influential among the girls, I knew she could turn everybody against me. Out of the fear of losing friends, I suffered in silence until 2 days to my exams when something in me told me that if I failed my exams and had to repeat, and the other girls passed, they would move on with new classmates and I would still be alone; worst still, my parents would be unhappy with me, and probably withdraw privileges like gifts, holidays and so on. This awareness gave me the courage to report the girl to our teacher, barring the impending consequence that was my fear. Reporting her to my teacher paid off. My teacher intervened and got my notebook back that evening with the girl’s mum’s intervention. The girl apologised to me and we remained friends.

 

At break time the following day, I told my teacher about my fears and she looked at me and said ‘Never  let fear control you.  Most times, your fears cannot withstand forthright courageous actions. If you realize that in life you win some, you lose some, you will not be afraid of taking risks.

This experience has shaped my life, as I never hesitate to take decisive action, whenever I realize I am on the wrong route, no matter how long I have travelled. I always weigh my options. I never let the fear of insecurity enslave me to the point of consuming me.  Please free your mind and reach for the skies!   You are not a scared little girl anymore. As the author of the Nasrudin  legend, Katherine Paterson  said: “To fear is one thing. To let fear grab you by the tail and swing you around is another.”

Folusho Olaniyan  OON, is the Founder and CEO of Contact Consulting Nigeria, an Agribusiness advisory firm she founded 3 years ago after serving as CEO/MD of  UTC Nigeria PLC.

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One Response

  1. Thank you for sharing your story sister. I am sure that many people will be able to relate to it. I know I have had conversations with the very same eight year old that resides within me.

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