Archived Story

Our actions can conquer fears

Published 12:00am Sunday, May 27, 2012

Being a graduating high school senior in the world today is probably a pretty scary experience for many students.

But these young men and women shouldn’t feel bad just because they are a little fearful of the future.

I’m going to share a very well-guarded secret.

Being an adult can be a little scary at times too, but we just aren’t supposed to admit to that fact. It might be like a pact or something. But, guess what? No one can kick me out of the club.

As another key step toward adulthood, this weekend most Lawrence County high schools will usher their senior classes off to college, technical schools or out into the work world.

This is always a bittersweet time, a season of endings and new beginnings.

Recently I sat down to think about what advice I would give these graduates. This reflection was sparked because I was asked to speak at Collins Career Center’s high school graduation, a request I was humbled and honored to receive but unfortunately unable to fulfill because of prior commitments.

Still, I thought long and hard about this, wondering if I even had any wisdom or insight to impart. And I don’t know if what I came up would meet either of those descriptions or go beyond all the cliches that have been said at commencement speeches for hundreds of years.

I will say that something becomes a cliché for one reason: It makes pretty good sense.

I would have likely told the class of 2012 to slow down for a few minutes, cherish the stage of life you just completed, celebrate your successes and keep an eye on the future.

If life is a football game, graduating high school is like the end of the first quarter.

So much more is to come and if you stay true to your beliefs, fight hard for your dreams and always think about every decision you make, then you all have bright futures ahead of you.

It’s OK to be a little afraid. That’s only human and an unknown future can be scary. What will help define you as the adult you are becoming is how you overcome that fear.

Author and lecturer Dale Carnegie, perhaps one of the greatest motivational speakers and self-improvement experts of all time, is much smarter than I am. He had some good advice that could help these graduates too.

“Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.”

That’s what being an adult is all about, regardless of whether you are headed to school or work.

So, congratulations. Get busy reaching for your dreams.


Michael Caldwell is publisher of The Tribune. To reach him, call (740) 532-1445 ext. 24 or by e-mail at Follow him on Twitter: @MikeCaldwell_IT.

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