Albert Opoku

Life Lessons: 1 – Two Faces of Fear

Life Lessons: 1 – Two Faces of Fear


As children, the earliest from of fear we are introduced to is reverential fear. This is the fear that comes out of respect, such as fear of disobeying the rules of our parents, fear for the law, and fear for a supreme being. We also possess an inherent fear; the fear of putting our lives in danger. This kind of fear is one of the body’s mechanisms to protect itself from harm.

Growing up, I realised there was another third kind of fear: the most common with adults; this is the fear of inaction. It is this fear which holds us back from taking risks, trying new things, letting go of the past, or leaving our comfort zone. This kills our self-belief from within us, well before we attempt to surmount a challenge. This is what makes us say “I can’t!”

I once heard a story of two young men who met a starved lion in the forest. The first was so fearful that he was unable to move, and the second was so fearful that he run at a speed he had never run before in his life time. I do not need to tell you which of the two became the lion’s dinner. Our fear could either paralyse us and prevent us from taking action or move us to run – to take action.

Mark Twain said: “Courage is not the absence of fear but the mastery of it”.  I sure know I have not been the master of my internal fear in the past, but one lesson I have come to learn is that I can use the fear in me to generate action. The second young man feared the consequence of not running and that got him to take action. When we focus on the fear of our inaction, fear can become the adrenaline that jerks us into action no matter what the situation is.

For me, that is the fear of a pot belly which gets me jogging in the morning and not the love of jogging. So if you have been in fear to face the challenges of your life, focus on what will happen if you sit in your couch and not take action. Do not let fear stop you from taking action towards achieving your goals in life.

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