What does courage mean? Is it jumping through flames to help another individual out? Is it making sure you are well known by everyone around you for being the person who goes above and beyond in all situations? I know that it takes a lot of courage to do something that frightens oneself.
Wikipedia has courage down as it is the choice and willingness to confront agony, pain, danger, or intimidation. Physical courage is bravery in the face of physical pain, hardship, death or threat of death, while moral courage is the ability to act rightly in front of the popular opposition, shame, scandal, discouragement, or personal loss.
I think a lot of us have different viewpoints of what being courageous is and I have a few steps on how you can gain courage in your life.
Embrace Your Fear
Doing something despite the fear. Fear comes naturally from the fight or flight response our body. Cortisol is sent from our brains which is a stress-inducing hormone throughout the bodies nervous system, making our bodies go into hyper-drive. Learning to work through fear and go beyond is about retraining your mind.
Did you know that avoiding fear makes them stronger and therefore scarier? We here in the Western culture have a certain mindset that views emotions as a sign of weakness and seeks to suppress these emotions, which in turn only heightens them.
Getting yourself exposed to things that you fear (all while being safe) can help train the brain to become desensitized to the fear.
Courage Is A Habit
Just like a lot of things, courage isn’t something we are naturally born with. It’s something that doesn’t magically appear without some practice being put into it.
Get in the habit of doing daily tasks that can help implement courage in your life. What you think about things and speaking from that place of conviction. Daily tasks help put a habit on things, and we all know successful building habits can be beneficial.
Find Courage In Numbers
We all know the comfort of having someone who feels the same way as we do, so it goes without saying that it’s much easier to act in the company of those who think the same way we do. Going into something solo is hard. Although, sometimes you’ll have to go it alone, going through something like finding courage doesn’t have to be an individual job.
Light Up Someone’s Life
We all have someone we have a connection with, and when that someone is having difficulties, I strongly urge you to help them overcome a personal challenge. Showing you care for them and believe in them is great to help your practice of courageousness.
Explore Real Change
Ever wanted to go somewhere new and exciting? DO IT!! Go places you’ve never been. Do things you’ve never done. Routine is the foundation for stability but also takes you to the same places over and over again. Getting out of your comfort zone and explore the world around you is essential. Start small, and work your way up to bigger places.
Building Your Courage For Specific Scenarios
There’s a different level of courage that needs to be given in certain scenarios like asking someone out you are interested in, speaking to your boss about that raise you’ve meant to ask for a couple of months, or confronting someone who was a bully to you. One thing all of these scenarios needs is some form of confidence. Confidence and courage come through acting as if you are unafraid even when you are.
Once you’ve figured out what your fears are, do not sweep them under your bed; and do not avoid them. Don’t try to convince yourself that you just aren’t afraid; it will take more work than that to conquer your fears. Everyone has them, so learning to accept that you do have fears is the first step to working towards overcoming them.
- Try Direct Confrontation- Force yourself into the scenario you are afraid of and allow yourself to be fully afraid. Feel the fear pulsing through you. Allow yourself to feel it, but don’t allow yourself to be overcome by it. For example: if you are afraid of going outside, you will go down the block on your first try. You would then try to think about how it isn’t that bad and that being away from home isn’t scary. You will repeat this until you were completely unafraid of going outside.
Understand That Courageous Living Isn’t Easy
Becoming the best version of you requires experiencing a level of suffering, setback, and pain. Courageous acts are the result of being prepared to step out and take responsibility. I know it’s not easy, but without even willing to move away from what you are comfortable with, your ability to achieve your real potential will be limited.
Lose An Argument
We all have an opinion, and we all have had arguments in the past that we simply felt we were right about, and that the argument was cut short and you couldn’t truly express your true opinion. However; sometimes losing an argument is a good thing, when you know your right, sometimes losing an argument is the way to go. It doesn’t cost you anything.
Follow Your Gut When Others Think You Are Crazy
Entrepreneurs are known for being persistent. They take “no” as a form of “not right now” or they allow it to be fuel to their fire. When you have an idea, that you are certain about, dare to follow your gut. Take Google co-founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin; they spent years trying to find anyone who would listen to invest in their idea of a dedicated search company. Don’t take no for an answer. Keep moving.
Deliver Bad News
I know this sounds crazy, but keep reading. The hardest things anyone can do is be the one to deliver bad news. People run away from this, but you should be running towards this. Being the one to give the bad news is a gem hidden in the dirt. People respect those who dare to stand up and take ownership of what they did, or what had happened.