The invincible person

The invincible person

However there is a prison that is even more impregnable—the one that the individual constructs for himself. The bricks of this invisible prison are one’s anxieties and fears, unfulfilled dreams, disappointments and grudges. None but the prisoner himself can bring about release, because the key to freedom is in his own hands.

Anxieties and fears exercise a hold early in life. Parents and teachers can with their strictures and demands arouse tension and fear. Psychologists have ample proof that many of the inhibitions we suffer from have their roots in childhood. In adulthood, the fear of failure can be so strong that it leads to inaction and a sense of worthlessness.

These fears and the consequent inability to act also lead to what we may call ‘unfulfilled dreams’. There are, of course, many other reasons why we do not achieve what we most desire. It may be sheer laziness, the tendency to put off for tomorrow what we can do today. There exists the notion too that luck favours only some. Also in this age of instant formulae, few have the patience to work and wait for success. Criticism and unkind remarks too have the power to bind us in chains of anger and bitterness. They can sour our outlook and rob us of goodwill. Prisons of the mental kind, we see, are many and varied.

The question therefore is how to break out of them and avoid them. None of us likes to be trapped. What is more, none of us likes to think we are trapped. The first thing to do therefore is to look at our fears full in face and admit that they exist. The next and even more difficult step is to summon the readiness and the will to break out of them. Often enough, when we develop the courage to meet a problem, it disappears.

For instance, even the most successful speaker will tell you that he initially had to grapple with stage-fright and fight it. It is well to remember too that progress is slow and persistence necessary. When Sarsate, the great Spanish violinist was called a genius, he remarked, ‘Genius! For thirty-seven years I practiced fourteen hours a day and now they call me a genius!’ There is no one who does not face challenges in life. Whether they lead us into a prison of our own making or on to a great playing-field is up to us.

Consider the saga of Sudha Chandran. This talented dancer lost a foot in an accident. With the help of a prosthesis and armed with sheer grit and determination, she began dancing again. When asked how she did it, she said quite simply, ‘You don’t need feet to dance.’

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