Fear is part of human nature—witness the fight or flight instinct in all of us. I am cautious by nature and would easily become agoraphobic if I hadn’t realized at a very early age that I would never accomplish my dreams unless I stepped out into the unknown. Constantly pushing my boundaries keeps my mind active and allows me to follow a career I love. But I’m a reader, and books have opened my mind to possibilities I would never have envisioned without them.
Others are not so lucky. Sociologists have proven that nearly half the population lives in fear. “Fear of change” is a very broad umbrella to label a host of anxieties from not wanting to update a computer to being unable to accept changes in culture or environment. This truly worries me because lack of change equals stagnation and the gradual
deterioration of the person, place, or thing that remains unchanged. A very simplistic example: A person who is afraid to drive a heavily traveled highway and spends his life taking the less busy long way around will be in serious trouble if a wildfire or other disaster wipes out his usual route. He will not be able to navigate the faster road and sets himself and others up for disaster if forced into unfamiliar terrain. Had he developed the courage to learn both routes, he—and everyone around him—would fare far better.
But apparently it’s easier to fear the small things right in front of us than consider the prospect of greater disaster. I have no cure for fear, but my concern is often reflected in my Unexpected Magic books, where my characters are forced to face and overcome their fears if they’re to have what they want.
Have you ever had to face your fears? How did you overcome them?