In my article on Overcoming
Your Fear, one of the solutions
to overcoming it was to develop courage. For instance, if trying to
conquer a particular fear hasn't been working for you, then the idea
is to work on
Contrary to what some may believe, courage is
not a quality you are, or aren't, born with. It is one that can be
cultivated an honed.
Nor, does acquiring courage necessarily entail doing something
dramatic or heroic. On a day-to-day basis many ordinary folk summon
uncommon courage to overcome both physical and psychological barriers
in order to
accomplish various needs and goals.
What then is courage?
Courage is the mental and emotional
preparedness and ability to deal with difficult, challenging, and
sometimes seemingly impossible circumstances. It is the ability to
confront fear, pain, danger, uncertainty, intimidation and other
Why develop it?
When we work to develop courage, we empower ourselves with the
ability to confront problems head on, as well as the skills to deal with
life's inevitable challenges. Courage is a psychological muscle. Indeed, when we
build any muscle, we do so to build strength and resilience.
At a time when many of us resort to harmful
and counterproductive substances to deal with problems, we would do
better to possess a healthy
supply of courage. It is, without doubt, the wiser alternative.
How do we develop courage?
In building strategies for living a more productive, happy
and meaningful life, developing courage provides yet another step
towards taking responsibility for your state of mind, your
circumstances and your well-being.
As Maxwell Maltz points out:
"We must have
courage to bet on our ideas, to take the calculated risk, and to act.
Everyday living requires courage if life is to be effective and bring
How to Develop Courage:
Acknowledge and understand that it's not the absence
the most courageous of us experience fear and trepidation
John Wayne said, "Courage is being scared to death
-- and saddling up anyway". Ask any soldier or warrior
who has had to venture forth in battle. Few would deny
feeling fear and uncertainty beforehand.
Muster up the willingness to do so. Before you
can acquire any habit, or character trait, you must have a
strong desire or willingness to do so. Contemplating the
alternative, which would be to live in fear or a position
of great vulnerability, should provide ample motivation.
Read literature, the latest news, and watch movies
about tales of courage. Reading about the courageous
acts of others is very inspiring and offers examples for
all of us. In one of my favorite works of literature, Don
Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes, Don Quixote,
although very ill equipped for it, sets forth to
courageously right the wrongs of the world. He faces
scorn, ridicule and resistance at every turn, yet he
"One man scorned and covered with scars still
strove with his last ounce of courage to reach the
unreachable stars; and the world was better for
this". Don Quixote, de la Mancha
Likewise, you need not read much further than stories
from 9/11 to be moved and inspired. Consider the courage
and bravery of the ordinary men and women, the
firefighters, the police and all those who gave their
lives to save others. Who can forget the accounts of their
honorable actions and how they didn't think twice about
consequences to themselves?
Start small but start somewhere. Venturing forth
and stepping out of your comfort
zone can be daunting at first so start out by
doing something small. Ask that cute girl or guy out for a
coffee (or herbal tea, juice, power shake). Sure it may be
scary, but that's all right - do it anyway. If you
normally hold back and are afraid to speak up, offer your
opinion and suggestions at the next office meeting.
Slowly, but surely build up your courage by doing the
things you typically shy away from. Building courage in
this way can help you when it's time to quit that job you
are not suited for or leaving a relationship that you've
long since outgrown.
Develop faith and confidence. A large part of
developing courage is having faith in yourself, faith in a
higher power and faith that things will work out. This
type of confidence comes from maintaining a positive
attitude and visualizing
a favorable outcome. A courageous mindset is the product
of faith, self-confidence
and positive thinking.