Prof. Stefano D'Anna's Official Web Site

Free Yourself From Fear

Fear knocked.
Courage opened the door.
No one was there.
There is nothing that can be built upon anxiety and dread but a dependent life. When you realise that outside of us there is no enemy to fear, nor any evil that can harm you; when you realise that there is nothing to be afraid of – fear disappears, and freedom takes the upper hand.
For years I had been studying fear as the source of all negative emotions: a planetary drug that circulates in the veins of mankind, and crippling it men since birth. I have brought the subject of fear as a core topic to senior managers and corporate leaders at my seminars, and I have written about it as a major constituent of my research into leadership and man’s psychological pollution. In my book, The School for Gods, I created a larger-than-life character, an imaginary entity described as the Dreamer, a supernatural man who shows the path for intentionally eradicating fear and any sort of negative emotions and imagination from one’s Being. For the Dreamer, this achievement is the main source of success in both private and business life.
Through strenuous, persistent efforts and hard work on oneself, a man can discover that fear doesn’t exist. It is a ghost! – the Dreamer says.
Two Human Species
The point is that for common people, mental panic may well be a ghost, but it still tyrannically drives their entire existences. In my book I have demonstrated the theory of fear as a mental watershed, a Great Divide separating two human species: on one side exists a “clerical race”, the large sea of employees serving the needs of organisations – trained to numb themselves to the pain of dependence – and on the other side is a small group of bold men and women capable of taking risks, who have developed a sixth sense – imagination – and a seventh one – dreaming. By believing in their dreams with an unshakeable faith, by their unremitting commitment, this small group transforms the impossible into possible, and dreams into reality. It is from this group that entrepreneurs, philosophers of action, and visionary leaders arise. The barrier between these two groups has a name: fear.
A Path to Fearlessness
One day, I met George Koukis, a great entrepreneur and philanthropist, and a man who created from nothing an industrial empire spread across five continents. When he came to the fore as one of these exemplary cases of men who have eradicated fear from their hearts, I felt like a scientist who had finally achieved a breakthrough after long research and numerous experiments, and who had confirmed his anecdotal theories and intuitions. Meeting him impelled me to write my latest book, “A Dream for the World”, an account of his extraordinary life, as an example of the path to fearlessness and integrity. The Turkish edition is on the way. Reading it, your attention and interest will be drawn irresistibly by the idea that there is nothing that can be built upon anxiety and dread but a dependent life. They are damaging traits not only for individuals, but for corporations as well. You will find it interesting to discover that the behaviour of a leader who breeds fear can steer a company into financial decline.
As a matter of fact, a successful corporate leader is an individual who, somehow, at a certain point in his life, has looked fear in the face and banished it from his psychology.
Considering fearfulness and uncertainty as the enemies of a prosperous economy, in their enterprises these leaders have been able to eliminate nervous hesitation and apprehension from the hearts and minds of their people.
To achieve this result, Mr. Koukis gave his employees a precise order: “When things are going well and you are successful, take the credit for it. But if something goes wrong in front of the client, you are authorized to lay the blame on me. Tell them: ‘It is Mr. Koukis’ fault; he instructed me to do so.’”
Fear is a Ghost
It is impossible to imagine how dramatic would be the change in our civilization and in life on our planet if we were able to eradicate fear from man’s psychology. It would be a world without wars and conflicts, and most, if not all of its evil would be cured. In spite of fear being the pivotal force of our individual and social lives, there is no school, no university program, and no mentor who has ever tackled this dominant condition of man’s psychology and taught us how to get rid of it, and to live without it. My proposal would be to display in the main public buildings and in all working places the pithy statement: “Fear is a ghost”. The purpose would be to have a constant reminder urging people, and youth in particular, to take the very first steps on the narrow, less-travelled path to fearlessness. Through unceasingly hard work and having recourse to a pitiless sincerity, some men could arrive at the discovery that all fears are imaginary. As a matter of fact, people live out their entire existences immersed in the icy-cold liquid of their fear, and in the anxious wait for negative events, probable and improbable, but only very rarely do they experience a physically- concrete fear, and one that is associated with any actual danger.
Hunting one’s fear
A man who persists in this search and finds the courage to get to the bottom of it will discover that, though imaginary, fear has directed his entire life and everything he has done, and will realise as well that what he has not done has also been dictated by his waking nightmares. A man who does not follow his ideas will never become an entrepreneur. He will never be capable of believing in himself. He will never even dare to dream. The only thing holding him back is his fear.  It will cause him to be dependent all of his life, to seek the illusory protection of employment and to have nothing more to anticipate than his next pay cheque.
With his heart in turmoil, if he pushes his exploration further, he may discover that even his life companion was chosen not by him, but by his fear. He might discover that he studied, built a family, had children, and even found himself in a professional career or filling a job, all resulting from following the dictates of a world deformed by his fright.
Leadership vs Sheepship
Only an individual who has the bravery and persistence to reach this innermost, sincere part of his being, can promise to himself that he will never again be driven by fear and can undertake the insurmountable endeavour to cast off this mortal ballast. To keep this resolution will require the same commitment and courage that Caesar mustered to cross the Rubicon, and George Washington amassed to re-cross the Delaware River and march into Trenton in the deepest winter. It will mean going beyond the threshold and surmounting the daunting barrier between leadership and “sheepship”. Leadership is about coming to the fore and taking responsibility, but sheepship requires nothing more than following passively, like a sheep.
Fear and all the negative emotions that spring from it, shape the world as we know it. The most terrible illness of our world is not cancer or AIDS – and our real plagues are not pollution, criminality, wars or the endemic poverty of vast regions of the planet. These can be considered effects, at the most. The real evil is the immeasurable abyss of man’s negative emotions; of those, the first is fear. This explains the biblical tradition, according to which, Fear is the original sin of man, and his indelible psychological stigma. “I heard Your steps in the Garden and I was afraid” – are the first words of Adam uttered on the threshold of the Paradise that is by now lost.
The Hindu tradition handed down through the millennia in the Bhaghavad Gita, points out “fearlessness” as the condition of the warrior – the first quality of a hero and a man of divine nature.  And not by chance, the Turkish national anthem starts with the word: korkma – meaning, “no fear”.
And Yavuz Sultan Selim,  the father of Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent, has left to us these intense words:
If you have courage, you achieve victory.
If you are in doubt, you are in danger.
If you are in fear, you are dead.
Fear creates the object of one’s fear 
There was a time when I believed, like everyone else, that fear is the natural reaction to something threatening, and that it is external. But this is not so. When I started to study myself, to be more attentive and impartial in observing my reactions and those of others in a variety of circumstances presented by life, I understood that in reality the mechanism of fear works in exactly the opposite way. First we are afraid, and then we unconsciously invite, or even create that of which we are most afraid.
Fear creates the object of one’s fear, and plots secretly for us to meet it.