Story about fear: How can a coward overcome cowardice?
There once was a village near the biggest city in the country that was very special. What was so special about this village was that every villager there was an early adopter of technology and the village was even more advanced than the big city near it. The village had everything automated, robotized, optimized, and every other “ized” there is. The people in the village had one thing in common and that was their affinity for new technology and the courage to implement new things all the time. They also were the happiest in the whole nation, and even though they were “geeks” about the technology they were a very tight-knit community that knew and helped each other with everything. But there was an outlier. A man that everyone called the “village coward”. It may seem cruel but no matter how much anyone tried to help this young man he was always afraid of everything and anyone he didn’t know well. The villagers helped the young man with different therapies and techniques, but they always failed. Even the village spiritual guru couldn’t help him when the villagers brought the “village coward”. Then one day the young man had enough and asked the village spiritual guru for help himself, “I want to overcome cowardice and I am willing to do anything you ask of me. This is not like the last time I was forced to see you I promise.”
The spiritual guru looked at the young man and said, “I’m ready to teach you how to overcome cowardice but under one condition.” The young man promised he would do what the spiritual guru would ask of him. So the guru continued, “First you must go and live in the big city for one month. While you are there you must tell every person you meet that you are a coward. When you go for coffee, or a walk, or to a movie you must look every person you meet into their eyes and loudly but friendly say that you are a coward. After you have done so for one month you can come back for further instructions.” The young man went home and thought over the task he was given by the guru. Naturally, he felt scared and overwhelmed by it, but he kept thinking about it for the next couple of days. Finally, he decided to do as he was told by the guru and he traveled to the city. In the first couple of days in the city, the young man couldn’t talk to anyone, not even to say “Hi”. Whenever he tried to talk to someone he lost his voice as soon as he looked at the person’s eyes. After about a week he felt like giving up, but the thought of being afraid all the time was just not acceptable to him.
So he tried again and finally one day he mustered up the courage to tell one random person that he was a coward. After doing so he decided that it was enough for one day. The next day he managed to tell more people that he was a coward. So he continued, and with each day passing, his voice sounded louder, his eye contact with the person improved and his body stopped shivering when talking to a different person. Soon the young man was not scared anymore to talk to strangers and admit that he is a coward. Even though he had no more issues of telling others his condition he continued to do so as he had promised the guru. Finally, the month passed and the young man could return to the village. Once there he immediately visited the guru and told him that he does not feel fear anymore about anything. He told the guru that not only he had admitted his lack of courage to everyone he had met, but he had also made many new friends. The young man felt proud that he had overcome cowardice, but was wondering how the guru knew this task would help him do so.
The guru replied, “You see cowardice is like a habit. If you want to overcome it you have to practice by doing things that scare you. That is what you did each day until you came back and as a result, you have overcome cowardice with the habit of courage. Now that you have learned this secret you can implement it everywhere. All you need to do is replace one habit with another. Step by step.”
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What lesson did you get out of this story?