Are your fears holding you back from living the life you deserve? Do you wish you could show more courage in your day-to-day dealings with others?
If you had more courage, maybe you could ask for that raise you've been waiting for, feel more confident in closing that next sale, or even invite the girl of your dreams to go out on a date! The possibilities are endless!
But what is courage, really? Courage is the ability to continue moving forward even in the face of challenge, adversity, and fear.
Without fear, there could be no bravery. So being courageous is largely about managing fear as best you can and still taking the best action available to you.
Courage Is Like A Psychological Muscle.
Being brave is similar to lifting weights. The more you participate, the easier it becomes. Alternatively, the more you're willing to use and accept fear as an excuse not to move forward, the easier that path becomes. You get good at the things you practice regularly.
To cultivate courage:
- Start out by making a list of the things that you're afraid to do but wish you weren't. These can be things like asking out the cute guy in the finance department, doing karaoke, starting your own business, or leaving a bad relationship.
- Now put that list in order from least fearful to most fearful.
- Begin at the top and work your way down.
These strategies will help you develop the courage to tackle your list and move on to even bigger things:
1. Decide that you're going to conquer your fears. The simple act of making a decision means you've cut yourself off from all other possibilities. So declare to yourself that you're going to tackle your fears one at a time.
2. Accept the fact that there will be some fear. Fear can frequently be decreased, but sometimes not completely eliminated. Remember that living courageously means dealing with some level of fear but going forward anyway.
3. Develop the idea that fear isn't a good excuse to avoid doing something. Unless you're going to fall off a cliff, being afraid is an ineffective way of choosing your course of action.
- As mentioned above, if you get into the habit of not acting due to fear, continuing on that path only becomes easier.
- Try to start basing your decisions on what you'd like to have in your life, rather than on what you don't want (the fear).
4. Ask yourself, “What's the worst that can happen?” Many times your knee-jerk reaction is to feel fear in a given situation, but you might find out the worst that can happen isn't that bad.
5. Reward yourself. After you complete one of your list items, give yourself a treat. Be proud of yourself; you certainly earned it!
6. Recognize that feelings of fear and excitement are very closely related. Is a rollercoaster exciting or scary? It's a thin line for most people. Horror movies are a similar experience. The difference between excitement and terror can be difficult to ascertain.
- Try telling yourself you're just really excited the next time you take action to do something on your list.
7. Use every tool at your disposal to minimize your fear and have faith in yourself. All kinds of things can help! Here are some suggestions:
- Practicing your values and principles
You can live courageously. Put the above plan into action today. The key is to start small and move forward from there. Remember that being courageous is all about taking action in spite of fear, not the absence of fear. There's no time like the present to cultivate your courage.