The Power of Overcoming Fear

“The Power of Overcoming Fear” written by Guest Contributor.

I’m listening to this amazing audio book while driving in my car called “The Power of Habit” by Charles Duhigg.  To illustrate the power of social habits he uses the example of African American civil rights activist, Rosa Parks.  Hers is an amazing story in overcoming fear and the power of social habits.

Rosa Parks Overcoming Fear

It was 59 years ago yesterday on Dec 1, 1955 when she was on her way to a meeting at her local N.A.A.C.P. about protesting segregation laws when it happened: “she found a seat in the first row of the “colored” section in the back. But after a few stops, the driver ordered her to get up so a white passenger could sit down. Parks refused, and the police were called to take her to jail.” Her ordeal would soon inspire a citywide boycott and a ruling that such segregation was illegal.

Learning From Rosa Parks in Overcoming Fear

There are so many things to learn from this amazing and courageous woman, but I thought I would list three that come to mind..

The most obvious would be that she didn’t let fear get in her way. She HAD to be scared as they were taking her to jail. She was a 42 year old very socially active woman who was a member of many organizations and groups. The idea of going to jail had to be mortifying, but she was courageous enough to stand up for what she knew in her heart was the right thing to do even to the point where she would risk public humiliation, alienation and embarrassment.

Years later, Parks said “When I got on the bus that evening I wasn’t thinking about causing a revolution or anything of the kind. …

“But when that white driver stepped back toward us, when he waved his hand and ordered us up and out of our seats, I felt a determination cover my body like a quilt on a winter night.”

Important Lessons to Be Learned About Overcoming Fear

1) Don’t let fear keep you from doing what your heart is telling you is right.

She was not the first African American to refuse to sit in a separate section of the bus. There were a few before her who were arrested for things similar to this. The difference was she had connections. She knew many people from different socio economic groups and was very involved with diverse social groups. She worked as a secretary, was involved in her church, the NAACP, the voter registration movement and was an accomplished seamstress and volunteered her time. When she was arrested it was those connections that started the movement to end segregation.

2) Don’t try to do it alone.

Connect, mastermind and network as much as possible.  Step outside of your comfortable circle of friends and network with people who can expand on what you already know.

And finally…

“Martin Luther King, Jr. was the boycott movement’s most effective leader. He possessed unique conciliatory and oratorical skills. He was passionate and confident and He understood the larger significance of the boycott and quickly realized that the nonviolent tactics used by the Indian nationalist Mahatma Gandhi could be used.”

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