EXECUTIVE DEVELOPMENT PRESS, INC. Copyright 1953
By Robert R. Updegraff
Meet Old Man Trouble Head-On
Rule No. 5
Fear is one of the worst forms of trouble. We fear the unknown. We fear the consequences of making what might turn out to be a wrong decision. We fear that we will fail at some task. We fear we will be criticized. We fear we will lose our job. We fear illness.
Often we try to hide from our fears-which is the worst mistake we could make, for if we run from them they chase us and make us cowards.
A man with a reputation for unusual moral courage once gave me this simple rule: "Never go out to hunt for Old Man Trouble. But if he gets in your path-meet him head-on."
He went on to explain that as a young man he had worked as a night telegraph operator in a lonely mountain railroad station.
"The first night I was on the job," he related, "as soon as it began to grow dark I locked the doors of the station, closed all the windows, and pulled down the shades. That night was the longest I ever put in. I tried to read, but every sound outside in the darkness frightened me. Half a dozen times I was positive someone was trying to break in. Never was I so glad to see the dawn, when I could put up the shades and open the windows.
"The next night was even the worse. Some animal prowled around the station all night, making strange sounds. And I was sure I heard whispering just outside the window. At daybreak I was firmly resolved to throw up the job. So, when the station agent arrived at seven o'clock to take over, I told him of my two terrible nights and my decision to quit.
" 'Your trouble,' he said matter-of-factly, 'is that you closed the windows and pulled down the shades. You were afraid of the dark. Give the job one more try tonight. Leave the curtains up and the windows wide open. Sit right there in the window with all the lights on. Face the night.'
"I did-and passed one of the most peaceful nights of my whole life! That night I learned in that isolated railroad station to meet any kind of fear head-on, never to try to hide from it."
* * *
Many a life has been a tragic failure because a person has tried to hide from some freat fear that has paralyzed his mind and spirit.
If, in our darkest and most troubled hours, we keep the windows of our life open, leave the shades up, and sit in the lighted window where we can boldly look out on the world, we will have mastered Fear.
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