Thursday, January 8, 2009

David and Goliath

“The Philistine army had gathered for war against Israel. The two armies faced each other, camped for battle on opposite sides of a steep valley. A Philistine giant measuring over nine feet tall and wearing full armor came out each day for forty days, mocking and challenging the Israelites to fight. His name was Goliath. Saul, the King of Israel, and the whole army were terrified of Goliath.

One day David, the youngest son of Jesse, was sent to the battle lines by his father to bring back news of his brothers. David was probably just a young teenager at the time. While there, David heard Goliath shouting his daily defiance and he saw the great fear stirred within the men of Israel. […]

So David volunteered to fight Goliath. It took some persuasion, but King Saul finally agreed to let David fight against the giant. Dressed in his simple tunic, carrying his shepherd's staff, sling shot and a pouch full of stones, David approached Goliath. The giant cursed at him, hurling threats and insults.

[…] As Goliath moved in for the kill, David reached into his bag and slung one of his stones at Goliath's head. Finding a hole in the armor, the stone sank into the giant's forehead and he fell face down on the ground. David then took Goliath's sword, killed him […].” [Source:]

If you had the chance to see the film “In the valley of Elah,” you will recall Tommy Lee Jones’ wise words on David and Goliath. According to him, the moral of the story pushes you to believe that once you overcome fear, even the strongest, biggest and scariest can, and will be defeated. This is the reason why the fight between David and Goliath is still one of the greatest stories ever told: its precious lesson is timeless.

Fear, one of the most common and terrible emotions, comes in so many different packages. Fear of failing, fear of heights, fear of terrorism, fear of death, fear of commitment, fear of letting go, fear of change… There is a sensitive spot in all of us which can turn even the smartest into a nervous wreck. Whether the feeling is as hard as a hammer smashing into a wall, or as frisky as the sound of a whisper in the back of your ear, fear can ignite quite the psychological work-out. A little dosage of stress, anxiety, palpitations and a rush of adrenaline. And you’re good to go.

There are a lot of ways to deal with fear. In the worst of cases, it can sometimes become so overwhelming that it directly puts you in a very frustrating dilemma: being stuck, paralyzed… blocked. Unfortunately, the only way through (or out of) it, is usually denial and letting it be a burden to carry. In this scenario, time is truly working against you. The longer you have it on your shoulders, the heavier the weight. It might even end up devouring you. Consequently, everyone will surely agree that ignoring your fears is not the answer.

Indeed, being afraid should be treated more like an opportunity rather than a disadvantage. Easier said than done, obviously. Yet fear, taken in a good way, must be one of the most important factors in life that manages to always keep you on your toes. As a result, being tested constantly forces you to bring out the best in you. A little dosage of courage, self-esteem, control and a sense of power. And you’re good to go.

Even how frightening a problem or situation may appear; trusting in your abilities to get through it and pressuring yourself to face your deepest and darkest "enemy" can only take you forward, not hinder you. In this scenario, time is truly working with you. Strong can become stronger, same as weak develops into stronger. It doesn’t matter where you stand; the next step only is relevant. It is with surmounting these fears and meeting many challenges that, time after time, you’ll get to find the “David” in you. Once you've reached that point, you'll realize that there is no greater achievement than confronting the “I can’t” in your head and actually trying to conquer your very own (or many of your) “Goliath(s).” Go ahead and try because in case you were wondering, how do you think a superhero is born?