A 2010 survey found a third of Australian women felt constant anxiety and over half experienced anxiety regularly – overall 87% felt anxiety was impacting on their everyday lives. Anxiety is a fear of what is unsure, unknown or unpredictable. Many people fear the unknown and we all too often respond by reducing our worlds into ‘known’ quantities. Just hold this thought and consider another survey of Australian seniors that asked the question, ‘What is your greatest regret?’ Their overwhelming response was ‘I didn’t take enough risks. I always played it safe.’
It is a puzzling conundrum – when we are younger and more able, we don’t take risks yet when we are elderly and limited, we harbour regrets. So what are we to do?
I think we should put together those two great bedfellows: courage and wisdom. Wisdom is the insight we need to make a great decision or choice. We find it in friends, reading, meditation and opportunity. Courage needs wisdom to know when to act but wisdom needs courage to follow it through. When fear, circumstances and people are telling you that you maybe you aren’t up for it, ponder Christopher Robin’s words to Pooh,
Promise me you’ll always remember: You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.
That sounds an awful lot like the beginning of courage!