Liddy’s autobiography contained important lessons not only on willpower, but more so, on the concept of defeating one’s own fears. Whether or not this account is true or pure fiction is immaterial. His book offers, in my opinion, wonderful stories which serve as compelling examples for conquering one’s own fears. As FDR famously once said, “The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself.”

Liddy had an almost paralyzing fear of rats. Then one day he decided he would try to conquer this fear and other fears which kept him from gaining his potential. In his book he writes how he made an effort to hunt and kill the said rat who was causing his heart to beat rapidly. After he caught the rat and killed it he decided to take it a full step further. He proceeded to skin the rat, roast it over an open fire, and eat its carcass. To show to himself and the rat(s) that not only was he no longer afraid of the rat, but he was not the things rats should fear.

Fear is irrational. There is fear which comes from instinct to survive. And there is irrational fear. Fear prevents you from talking to strangers or talking to that girl or guy who you have a crush on. Fear is not being able to go to the deep end of the pool. Fear is an expectation of the worse. It is a handicap of which we must all overcome.

Fear, itself is nothing but a word. It is a shapeless thing we create in our own imaginations. Be not afraid. Be not fearful. But be the thing the fear is afraid of.

Originally published at on April 7, 2014.

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