There was a boy who was selected to be part of the Debating Society of his school. The apriorism behind his selection was because he looked bold, talked bold and actually acted bold. His teachers and mates respected him so much for his confidence. He was intelligent, smart and had all the visible signs of a courageous person. In their gleaming imagination, this was the boy to help the school win a high-prize competition for the first time – all hopes were on him, and they knew that this time, they made a great choice.
The preparation for the competition was to begin Monday the following week, and everyone was expectant. Over the weekend, the two teachers in charge brainstormed on various approaches to be adopted; it was a busy weekend for them. They came up with many ideas and narrowed them down to three. As they looked round the school on Monday morning, they were surprised that the boy didn’t show up. They later found out he told his dad to change his school.
In spite of the boy’s visible qualities of a bold person, he was actually a fearful person. His fear was that on stage, he couldn’t face crowds; he was scared of stages and faces.
I have seen and heard people say how they fear to stand on stage or speak before people. In a previous article, I told a story of an event I attended, that, when one of the speakers was introduced, he was hiding behind the sound engineers, and when he finally showed up, he was visibly frightened.
My suggestion on how to beat stages and faces is practice, and daring what you fear – go on stage despite your dread – the more you go, the more you defeat that devil. But, you must prepare, because the boldest person that doesn’t prepare is the worst coward.
Someone told the story of how he came in contact with a rich young guy in a shopping mall. As they exchanged pleasantries, the young guy who came on a super sports car started feeling inferior when he learned that he was a University Professor.
One fear most people have is profiles. Other people’s profiles can become a daunting pressure on the minds of some people because it immediately creates a type of comparative perception. When people introduce themselves, we are bound to either perceive them to be so high, and make ourselves look so low; or, make them appear so low and ourselves so high.
Some people push their profile fear to the extreme. If they think they’re too big, they ridicule and show attitude problems to those they perceive are beneath them, and if on the other hand, they feel someone is better than them, they make that person a god, and then worship.
What we should realise is that everyone has a role to play. Some people’s roles are on stage, while for others, it is backstage. Some other people’s roles are on the mountain top, while others have theirs in the valley. If those backstage refuse to perform their roles, there wouldn’t be a stage; and if those in the valley give up, the mountain will collapse. So, be proud of who you are, inasmuch as you’re making a contribution. Those who should be ashamed or get frightened on sighting those who are up, are those who stand with arms akimbo, and do nothing about adding values.
The word, ‘test’ makes some people fear, but everyone gets tested, though we may not like it. Except a student takes a test, he can’t move on to the next level. Except a professional takes a test, he can’t be promoted to certain heights. If a diseased person doesn’t go through medical test, how can he be treated? Tests diagnose our strengths and weaknesses, and open us up to critical analysis, and without that, we are brackish. What I wouldn’t like to forget mentioning is that life itself even tests us. Today, we don’t like mentioning life’s tests because we prefer a façade that is cosmetic, but within, we burn. We keep burning until one day, we become depressed, commit suicide, or become confusingly hopeless. Listen: life does test. Speak out if you need help.
The end product of a test is results. Some can take the test, but dread the results. Going to the notice board to check the outcome of your performance is killing to some people, but you must learn to face it because what has been printed may not likely change. Most often, there isn’t a typo on outcomes. If you missed the mark, try again. The more you try, the better you become. Be positive. Be strong. Be courageous.
There are many things people fear, but I feel it would amount to injustice of good writing if I don’t talk about opinions. Some people fear to contradict other people’s opinions; so, they accept on a peripheral level what others say, and bury their personal opinions. Some can’t disagree because they don’t want you to be offended; everything you say is right even if you’re on the path of destruction. Some people ignorantly push their sycophancy too far, not because they want to, but because they can’t say no to anyone.
Never fear to disagree – I am not suggesting that you should be argumentative, but I want you to understand that you aren’t erring by saying you don’t accept. You may be called names for not licking the Emperor’s shoes, but you don’t have to, to make headways. Fear nothing, including heights, depths and death. Even if you fear heights, you can’t move up until you go high. Even if you fear depths, you can’t lay a foundation without digging downwards. Even if you fear death, it is inevitable. So why fear?