The Only Thing We Have to Fear is Fear Itself

I’m down on the 7 ball …. break and running at this point. 7 is a routine shot with natural position to the 8.  I get down.  I’m stretched out, a bit uncomfortable, but again, it’s an easy shot.  I’m down.

ENTER: mental onslaught of doubt!  The unnerving attack on my routine, natural, absurdly easy 7 ball has been initiated.  The war has begun, completely unprovoked.   Not with my opponent, or the table or the balls — it’s a fight within myself.  FEAR.

The fear of failure.

If I miss, what will my team say, what will my opponent think, what will the onlookers believe …. what will become of me when the ball hangs there in the pocket?

coubt Doubt is the appetizer of fear.  Should I get the bridge or just stretch out, use a half tip of right hand english or full?  Go two rails? Shoot the 8 in the side pocket or corner?  And even after my analysis and after I’ve made my choice, more often than not, my appetizer cooks and all the rejected options raise their hands during my final stroke and say …"um, are you sure about that?!?"

Doubt is the crippling plague that currently infests our country.  Doubt in job security, doubt in job retrieval, doubt in investing, doubt in our future — doubt that it will get better.  I’m not saying we’re in a depression.  I went to school for accounting, not economics so I’ll leave the mathematical equation of depression, recession and contracting economies to the supply and demand guys.  But I look back to the 1930s era and personally find it hopeful to see that our country was once at it’s worst, and did live to see better days.

FDR. I crave that kind of absolute resolute.  Bold, determined unwavering resolve. That "I WILL DEFEAT YOU, I WILL WIN" attitude.  Courage under fire, hate in the face of a coaxed smile and instant retribution for defiance.  Strength.

When Franklin D. Roosevelt campaigned against Herbert Hoover in the 1932 presidential election he said very little about what he might do if elected.  The affable, witty Roosevelt used his great personal charm to keep most people at a distance.  (I can relate to this mentality.)  "In campaign speeches, he favored a buoyant, optimistic, gently paternal tone spiced with humor. But his first inaugural address took on an unusually solemn, religious quality."

He’d won the crowd ala Maximus.

"I am certain that my fellow Americans expect that on my induction into the Presidency I will address them with a candor and a decision which the present situation of our people impel. This is preeminently the time to speak the truth, the whole truth, frankly and boldly. Nor need we shrink from honestly facing conditions in our country today. This great Nation will endure as it has endured, will revive and will prosper. So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself-nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance. In every dark hour of our national life a leadership of frankness and vigor has met with that understanding and support of the people themselves which is essential to victory."  — FDR inaugural address, 1932

Reading past president speeches just makes me feel better, almost comforted.  I’m reminded that my commander in chief is an elected official of the people and the government from which he leads is a "government of the people, by the people, for the people, [and] shall not perish from the earth."

And I’m aware that my overly optimistic nature is sometimes quite annoying to some who like to see a cold, hard reality of life, rather than my rosy one.  Yes, when I see torture, or cruelty or tragedy befall others in this world, I am the ostrich that buries her head in the sand and asks to be informed when it’s safe to look again.  It’s hard for me to live my life trying to treat others as I’d want to be treated and yet, not necessarily have the golden rule be, well a RULE.  That’s life I guess.  But I still say 😛

People find it so hard to be happy because they see the past better than it was, the present worse than it is, & the future less resolved than it will be!

Most conversations I have with friends these days go alittle something like…

"So did you hear so and so lost their job?"

"I hate my job but given the market, I can’t really get out!"

"I want to start having kids but we can barely afford our living costs now!"

"I hate where I live, but I can’t afford anything else!"

It’s really tough out there and I find that the ‘Corporate America’ greed and ugliness that has been hidden by the prosperity of ’02-’07 is beginning to rear its ugly head in the face of all this doubt.  Loyal employees bound to their workstations for decades of their lives are finding a nice big ole boot hit their ass for the cheap labor of "sans-seniority."  It’s really quite tragic when you think about it.  Cheap labor wins out against the "better-qualified."  Time served only equals severance paid.  This kind of Corporate America is what my daddy warned me about.  hmm… and it’s not something I’m proud to be a part of… but the mortgage … I fear the mortgage… I doubt the security

… And so I feed the machine.

I’m reminding myself of a little girl I once knew who’d take more joy in the depositing of a $100 worth of savings, than a new Calvin Klein dress.  The millionaire’s next door motto I thrived off of seemed to be swept into the NYC shopaholic lifestyle of SOHO and Fashion Week.  Kayci reminded me, whether she really intended to or not.

"Happiness lies not in the mere possession of money; it lies in the joy of achievement, in the thrill of creative effort. The joy and moral stimulation of work no longer must be forgotten in the mad chase of evanescent profits. These dark days will be worth all they cost us if they teach us that our true destiny is not to be ministered unto but to minister to ourselves and to our fellow men."  –  FDR inaugural address

It is now during times like these that you can really take a good long look at yourself in the mirror and say, do I want to roll over and wait for the government bailout, or am I gonna make my own destiny.  Will I be a statistic for the unemployed or the outlier that defied the odds in spite of that unemployment?  Conquered the said unconquerable.  Make my own path and say, "piss on you who didn’t think I could do it!"  I want to be respected not pitied. I want to be an initiator, not a follower.  Give me the knockout punch, and Rocky you will call me.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt: "Yesterday, December 7, 1941-a date which will live in infamy-the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan."


And with one carelessly delivered assault, Japan gave America the final dose of Prozac it needed to bid farewell to the Great Depression.  We saw our country cease the telling of individual woes and rise together, united, enraged and all in one voice yell, "Oh no you didn’t!" <insert crossing snap of fingers>

We saw the bigger picture.  We removed ourselves from the worn out carpet in front of our mirrors of sadness and were reborn – revitalized.

I seriously hope that we don’t require that kind of tragedy to help us ban together again.  But our fear is disabling.  Fear keeps people from breaking the mold and venturing down a new course.  Taking a chance.  Seeking a better opportunity in the face of doubt.

Put down the appetizer.  Step away from the table and go find a different restaurant.  Let us eat cake– fearlessly!

"But always will our whole nation remember the character of the onslaught against us. No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people in their righteous might will win through to absolute victory.

I believe that I interpret the will of the Congress and of the people when I assert that we will not only defend ourselves to the uttermost but will make it very certain that this form of treachery shall never again endanger us.

Hostilities exist. There is no blinking at the fact that our people, our territory and our interests are in grave danger.

With confidence in our armed forces-with the unbounding determination of our people-we will gain the inevitable triumph-so help us God." –FDR

Amen and God Bless.


~ by g2 on February 3, 2009.

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