Excerpts From Great Minds- What Does Twain Mean?

excerpts from great minds

“Courage is the resistance to fear, mastery of fear- not absence of fear.”


-Mark Twain.


You can read previous posts on Excerpts From Great Minds here.

Many of us have related being courageous with fearlessness but this quote proves this relationship wrong. Being courageous doesn’t necessarily mean that you have no fear but that you recognize your fear. Trying to prove that you have no fear will only make you ignorant of your actual fears.

What’s the cause of your fear?

I once read a post explaining “the fear of dogs (cynophobia)” and how to overcome it. The author explained that this fear is

always externally induced, either by parents or media. The same is true for all kinds of fear. Many of us have phobias which are not hereditary. This simply means that they were induced at one time in our lives, probably when we were very young. He further explained that fear doesn’t have an age limit. If you don’t fight it when you’re young, chances are it’ll live with you till old age, until you do something about it.

Overcoming Fear

This aspect has no particular method as there are various ways to overcome your fear, depending on you. I had the fear of heights (Acrophobia) for a really long time until I made up my mind to rid myself of it. If I’ll be climbing the tallest of buildings in the future, then this phobia should be the last thing I should have.

1. Know Your Fear

There are lots of phobias which I never knew existed until I did some research. According to Wikipedia, there are lots of phobias and knowing these phobias would help you determine which one is accrue to you. Actually, people usually have a few fears which you really can’t get rid of all at once- it’s a step-wise process and it all boils down to self examination. I recently got to discover that being afraid of losing stuff is a phobia which has been a part of me for some time. Knowing your fears would help you move on to the next step which is…


2. Put Your Self-Will First.

We have the power to reshape all aspects of our lives, all we have to do is determine in our minds and hearts to do it. If after discovering your fear, your next point of action is dealing with it, you can but you have to confront it head-on. Like Glenn Ford once said, “If you do not do the thing you fear, the fear controls your life.”

It’s not an overnight task but it’s possible. If you’re dealing with acrophobia like me, make tall buildings your friend. In fact, instead of strolling on the road to take some fresh air, climb on the roof and take that fresh air (but don’t look down, for now). As for the fear of losing stuff (Disposophobia), I’ve been really careless lately with things I used to withhold (mainly unimportant stuff), so I guess I’m dealing with that squarely.

Regardless of what your fear is, deal with it using any method that suits you. If consulting a Psychotherapist would make you feel better, then go right ahead. The important thing is to get the drive and do something.


Would you regard a phobia as a disorder?  What fears have you had and how did you overcome them?  I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

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  1. Heard this particular saying few times while growing up. Didn’t know it was attributed to Mark Twain. Thanks for making me clear on that.

    I love the way you put across this article. First time I came across the complete list of phobias was mid-2011. Saw it on Purplehell.com. Still have it in my laptop. You got me thinking if I shouldn’t do what I’ve always wanted to do. Don’t ask what o. :-p

    P.S: I have a guest post for you.

    P.P.S: Sorry I’ve not been visiting. Been around but redesigning of my blog and sickness got the better part of me.

    Hope you cool in school?

    • It’s hard to do the thing you fear. If it wasn’t hard, I guess we would all be walking around with no fear! LOL Nice post!

    • I’m glad you found this post useful Chukwuka and I guess I’m not the only one interested in phobias.
      I’ve not really opened by blog to guest posts but I could give it a second thought. I’ll send you an email on that.
      Sorry about your illness and I hope you’re better now?
      I appreciate your comment Chuks.

  2. I love the quote and I’ve read about cases where phobias were treated and cured in a matter of minutes. I’m assuming there was a strong clinical hypnotherapy component involved in the cure, but as they say, whatever works!

  3. Powerful post, Lanre! Absolutely love it. We all have fears in life. Mine is public speaking, though I’m getting better – thank God! The first step in overcoming our fears is taking action. Things get better after that. Thanks for the inspiration.

    • Public speaking isn’t one of my strongest points either but it’s not a phobia. Taking action is really important in all aspects of our lives, including overcoming fear.
      I’m glad you loved the post, thanks for your comment.

  4. My greatest fear has been the fear of not being able to publish a bestseller novel or book before I leave the surface of this callous world called, EARTH…and gradually, I am overcoming it…so i think one can overcome his or her fears by determination…I enjoyed the post…nice one…thumbs up!

    • Everything in life requires determination- making up your mind to do something and then doing it, regardless of what comes your way.
      You don’t just want to write a book but a best seller- I like that. I appreciate your comment.

  5. Great content. I have fear on my self confident. But I face it well. Thanks for sharing.

    • Hi Faisal,
      Lack of self confidence is a really common issue and it can be induced in many ways. Mine was due to the inferiority complex I had. Sincerely, I still think I need a self confidence boost but the good thing is that it’s being dealt with. I’m glad you’re building up your confidence.
      I appreciate your comment.

  6. I am fear with darkness. How can i face it? It’s not easy. I sleep with switched on the lamp.

    • Hi Sherry, glad to have you on my blog. It really depends on why you can’t stay in darkness. If it’s that you see figures in the dark, then have someone stay with you. If not, all you need is to continuously assure yourself that all is well. Do this every night and you’ll see, all will be well.

  7. one way or the other we all have our fears.Just dont let your fear control you.That’s just it. I’m following you right now.i’ll b glad if you can follow me back.thanks

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