Saturday, January 26, 2013
"The only thing we have to fear is fear itself"
Games offer practice in conquering fear
“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself,” President Franklin D. Roosevelt told Depression-era Americans in 1933.
The sentiment has been expressed by many other people. One of the most inspiring instances came from Dolores Ibarruri, the Spanish Civil War heroine “La Pasionaria,” who said, “It is better to die on your feet than to live on your knees.”
Another woman who was no slouch, Lady Macbeth of Shakespeare’s famed play, urged her husband to “ Screw your courage to that sticking place.”
There is nothing shameful in fear. The question is how we manage it.
Chess is an effective training grounds for learning to do so.
The sheer number of games one can play offers ample opportunity to diagnose, manage and overcome anxiety.
The mere fact that we can start anew is a soothing thought. As British poet Alexander Pope observed: “Hope springs eternal in the human breast.”
As in life itself, within a chess game there are ample opportunities to recover from mistakes —even in dreadful situations.
Reflecting on experience is essential in overcoming fear. Written game summaries have always made this easy in chess.