If I am killed, I can die but once; but to live in constant dread of it, is to die over and over again. ~ Abraham Lincoln
Truer words have never been spoken. For many of us death is the ultimate fear. But the curious thing about fear is that from the fear of a single death come many deaths over the span of a lifetime.
President Franklin Delanoe Roosevelet captured the essence of this truth when he proclaimed in his inaugural address that “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” For the greatest and most sure death we can endure is death at the hands of fear. Though we may live, a life ruled by fear is a life already forfeit. No great work or deed can come out of such a life because a life lived in fear crushes the courage it takes to do anything of importance.
Counter Fear with Courage
Even those who had no idea they were on the verge of doing something great could not have begun their journey to greatness if they had allowed fear – fear of failure, fear of ridicule, or fear of physical death – govern their lives and their actions. Those that counter fear with courage are the ones who truly live. While their heart still beats they lead a full life, but even after their final breath is drawn they are the ones who continue to live on, defying the confines of death. They are the ones who had the courage to pursue their purpose, to persevere amidst persecution, and in doing so to cement their efforts in a timeless legacy that continues to influence the world even from beyond the grave.
While I have much more to say on the topic, I’ll leave that for Part II and end our time together with a list of 5 people whom I believe chose the challenge of life over the fear of death. In no particular order, they are: