HOW TO BUILD COURAGE?
How to build courage?
Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing. Hellen Keller
Kids are extremely courageous. It seems as if they directly go for what they want. They decide extremely fast and they rarely deviate from their decisions.
But as we grow up, we slowly lose that boldness. Our parents would limit our spontaneity; they would tell us what to do and mostly what not to do. Later, if we have an inspiration to do something, we always question ourselves to the point of overthinking. Meanwhile, social conditioning encourages us to fit in a mold and be among the masses.
As a result: we lose our natural and all our confidence.
If we want to go after our dreams however, we need to take that power back. It will require courage, faith and lots of actions.
Be your own superhero
When we want to build courage, it doesn’t necessarily imply heroic acts. We don’t need to save a baby from drowning, let alone to be Wonder woman or Superman.
We can start by being our own hero. How to do this? Simply by setting a definite goal, taking risks and going after what we set our minds to. We shall not fear but always try something new.
Courage implies seeing the positive than the negative, believing that it is possible.
When you do this, you become your own superhero. As you change, you would see that you can also inspire others to get better.
So how build courage on a daily basis?
The self-help community and other authors recommend motivation and self-discipline. I couldn’t agree more.
But let me ask you one question:
“Does motivation propel you to do your best every time?”
“Or are there some days when you don’t even want to get out of your bed?”
How does it feel to fear what other people might think of you? Why do we always fear failure? These two are among the biggest fears we have as humans: the fear of what other people think and the fear of failure.
When motivation and self-discipline fail, courage kicks in. Fortunately, it is an inner quality that we can develop.
What is courage?
The word courage originates from the Latin “Cor” translated into “heart”.
Courageous means being brave even when we are facing a difficult or dangerous situation. It is the opposite of cowardice.
When your “cor” or your heart drives your decisions, you develop more courage.
As long as you have enough “heart”, enough passion- you will remain motivated, regardless of the difficulties and setbacks.
Deep down, we feel that our decision is connected to what we really want. It is not based on fear but rather on love. Any forms of decision are either based on love or fear, no more no less.
Is your path connected to your heart or is it heartless? Maybe you’ve always wanted to do something you love: traveling, dancing or painting.
We all had a clear vision of who we wanted to become but as we grew up we lost it.
Maybe you hate your current job. Perhaps you want to quit but you’re terrified, it’s too risky.
A heartless path would slowly kill us over time.
If only we can be courageous, but how?
How to build courage: take more initiatives and decisions
It is never the right time and all of the traffic lights in life will not suddenly become green for you.
The first thing we can do is to decide now and understand the power of decision. Let’s leave our comfort zone. If we want to be brave, we need to challenge ourselves and overcome our fears. It sometimes boils down to braving the unknown, taking more risks and trying new experiences. But it starts with that initiative. We have to replace our “should” into a “must” Tony Robbins would often say.
In this sense, we have to be more proactive. Courage is an active rather than passive asset. We have to take action and build momentum.
As you make a decision, don’t overthink or over analyze the situation. At a certain point, it’s best to just take a leap of faith. Clear your head and adjust your actions as you move forward.
Successful people make decisions quickly and they rarely deviate from it. On the contrary, unsuccessful people dabble around, they overthink and get stuck.
Eustress and negative stress
It is essential to make the difference between positive stress and negative one. Negative stress or distress is the harmful type that will block and make you less confident.
Eustress or positive stress however is a type of healthy stress. Whenever we get out of our comfort zone or try something new, we will have this type of stress.
We then should make the difference and prefer eustress because it stimulates growth.
Feel the fear but do it anyway
You can admit to yourself that you are scared. Being brave doesn’t mean that we are afraid of nothing. Lying to yourself doesn’t solve anything, it can even be dangerous.
On the contrary, when we are brave, the fear is still there. But we decide to face it anyway and still move forward. To face our fear, we can follow these 3 steps:
– Acknowledge your fear: verbalizing it can help you.
– Realize that there is no such thing as security; everything in life involves some forms of risk.
– Focus on your circle of influence. What are the things that you can control and what are the others you can’t. You can control your actions first and slowly your reactions.
Take a role model who already achieved what you want
In our journey to success, it’s also important to take a role model. Identify someone who already achieved what you intend to accomplish. They might have experienced the same thing as you did. Maybe they were stressed too. Some had exactly the same doubts as you have. Get inspiration from them to help you deal with the situation with more courage.
For example, Robert Kiyosaki shared in his book “Quadrant Cashflow” one of the best decisions in his life. In 1985, he and his wife decided to live in their car and not to exchange their time with money: in short not to have a job and pursue financial freedom. As he highlighted “We were not going for job security. We were going for financial freedom.”
It was a tough decision that naturally led to many self-doubts. “Occasionally, we did a few odd jobs and earned a few dollars here and there. But we did that only to keep food in our stomachs and gas in the car. Those few extra dollars were only fuel to keep us going toward our singular goal. I must admit that during moments of deep personal doubt, the idea of a safe, secure job with a paycheck was appealing. But because job security was not what we were looking for, we kept pushing on, living day to day, on the brink of the financial abyss.”
As I read this passage and his story, I realized that it’s normal to doubt ourselves. Role models and their experiences can help us overcome our own fear. They can help us trust our guts and become more courageous.
You don’t have to have everything figured out
Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forwards – Soren Kierkegaard
Our plans rarely go the way we envisioned them. It is actually okay to experience this. We can still fear the fear but not get controlled by it and just take a leap of faith.
In an inspiring speech, Sorah Yang who is an international dancer and choreographer shared in her Ted Talk “It’s okay not have it all figured out” that most of the “figuring out” and aha-moments are happening along the way.
Deepak Chopra calls it “the wisdom of uncertainty”. When we really want something, just believe that the Universe will open doors for you. It will help you to build courage and trust your intuition.
Sorah Yang later pointed out that regardless of the path you choose, it’s not the direction you take that’s most important, but rather the qualities you take with you. Among those qualities, we can develop courage, faith, work ethic, honesty, integrity etc…
How to build courage: A list of small actions you can take overtime
Here is a short list of small things you can do to develop your courage:
– Trust your guts
– Ask a question
– Repeat your affirmations
– Say positive things as you see yourself in the mirror
– Practice public speaking
– Talk with a stranger every day
– Tell someone you love them
– Share your point of view, your ideas because you matter
– Express your opinions
– Set limits with people and stop being a permissive person
– Sing or dance in front of people
– Frankly say “I don’t know”
– Don’t try to control everything
There are bigger things such as leaving an unsatisfying job, ending a toxic relationship etc. The list highlights mostly that small things count. As they compound overtime, you would see yourself become more courageous and more confident.