I’ve been reading The Librarian of Auschwitz and came across this thought-provoking extract. The protagonist, Dita Kraus, is told that if she is to become the Librarian, she will have to be very brave:

Brave people are not the ones who aren’t afraid. Those are reckless people who ignore the risk; they put themselves and others in danger…I need the ones who know the risk – whose legs shake, but who carry on…Brave people are the ones who can overcome their own fear.”

The risks we take can be measured rationally. We can spend plenty of time analysing the pros and cons. We can weigh up the consequences of the risks so we’re not in danger (physical, emotional, financial, etc.).

But eventually we have to act. The fear we feel can paralyse us into inaction. So often, we overestimate the risk – thinking there’s danger, when it’s actually imagined – and miss opportunities to move forward and make things better.

We only improve by stepping out of our comfort zones, beyond our fears. Then, we can look back and see that whatever was holding us back wasn’t actually as scary as we thought. It was simply the Lizard Brain in action.

That is most of our decision making in the modern world. It’s not life or death and physical danger like it was for Dita. We can be brave in our decision making if we choose to overcome our own fear.

Extract: pp. 24/5 from The Librarian of Auschwitz, by Antonio Iturbe, Lilit Zekulin Thwaites (Translator)

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