In the spirit of Halloween, today I’m going to talk about…FEAR!

Fear is real: Fear of the unknown; fear of the economy’s worsening; fear of losing a job, a house, or good health; fear of falling; fear of speaking in public; fear of dying. All fears drain our energy, stifle our creativity, destroy our concentration, and immobilise our self-image. Regardless of whether or not there is something legitimate fuelling our fear, we must deal with all fears the same way: By learning the whole truth. We cannot succeed or become in any way significant while languishing in ignorance. Strength of mind renders us happier and more whole, precisely because it eliminates doubt and inspires confidence. History’s greatest teachers have affirmed that if we are prepared, we will not fear-that the the only thing we have to fear is fear itself. And the way to prepare is to inform ourselves about the whole picture.

Having had over 25 jobs, I have learned personally how to overcome my fears. In sales, for example, fear, anxiety, and the so called “quota” pressure, went away when I implicitly knew my value proposition. In other words, I developed in-depth, comprehensive product knowledge; I knew the answers and correct techniques to overcome the toughest objections BEFORE the sales presentation began.

Think again about your own fears: is there a side of the picture you have not considered? When you’re afraid of something, do you tend to avoid it, or do you push against your emotions and learn more about the source of your fear? Is there a way you can back away, climb to higher ground, and apprehend the total size, depth, breadth, and magnitude of the landscape?

Overcoming fear by getting to the whole truth isn’t easy. It requires discipline, and close scrutiny in order to carefully separate truths from virtues, values, principles, and the details used to explain them. Side-by-side comparison of a few half truths and whole truths will suggest the substantial gap between truth and whole truth, and the kind of thought and active study required to bridge that gap.

As we can probably all agree, the truth about wealth is that it comes from knowing how to make money. The whole truth is that wealth flows through you, not to you; you can get anything in life you want if you are willing to help enough people get what they want.

The truth is we can hear. The whole truth is that we should listen.

The Truth is there are problems. The whole truth is that they are challenges.

The truth is the glass is either half empty or half full. The whole truth is that it could be half full of the wrong thing.

The truth is, if you are overweight and see yourself as just a fat failure when you look in the mirror, you are staying negative and not motivating change. The whole truth  is that if you see yourself as someone who has been very successful at putting on weight, you will realise that you gained it one pound at a time and therefore can lose it one pound at a time. (Figured this one out after putting on an obliging post-wedding 50 pounds…)

The truth is, you should find a good-paying job. The whole truth is that you should find your life’s work and what you feel your calling is.

The truth is that pain hurts. The whole truth is that pain is a signal to grow, not just to suffer.

The truth is that crisis causes stress. The whole truth is that a crisis does not make or break the person-it reveals the character within.

The whole truth about life is that some things are true whether we believe them or not. Everybody is entitled to their opinions, but nobody is entitled to the wrong facts – truth is truth, wherever it’s found.

Truth is untested belief; whole truth is hard-won wisdom. And hard-won wisdom is precisely what frees us from our fears.