Below, I present some techniques for building courage. I based my article on some research I did only. Take this with caution; this is not to be taken as a guide but rather as a personal exploration of what I could do in order to be braver.
First, what is courage?
„Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.” – Winston Churchill
“The scariest moment is always just before you start. After that, things can only get better.” — Stephen King
What is fear?
I can’t find a detailed quote, but I heard this first from Cătălin Zaharia, I think:
We are the descendents of the people who ran away from the wolves.
So, fear can be good; if you keep charging at wolves, you might get into trouble.
Should you avoid fear at all costs?
Fear is a nice response to threatening situations.
From fear, we get: Freeze!-Fight!-Flight!
And we live to see the next day, like in the example below (the situation changes 100% afterward, they actually go to battle):
– William Wallace: Will you fight?
– (crowd) No!
– (individual) Against that? No! We will run! And we will live!
Source: Braveheart: Freedom Speech – YouTube.
What are some reasons for fear?
- Not winning – fearing failure or rejection;
- Not wishing to change – change or uncertainty of the future;
- Other’s reactions – being judged or ridiculed.
How to beat your fears and have more courage?
The list below doesn’t come from me, as a professional, but from me, as a person going through life and then reading some things online. It should not be taken as a guide:
- Know yourself – This is a key aspect in life; you need to know yourself and make the best decision;
- Identify what scares you – First, let’s start with the issue – what drives you, what makes you fearful?;
- What’s your worst fear? – Once you know what scares you, put your finger on your worst fear; imagining your worst fear can help you see that it is not that big of a problem;
- Acknowledge your fear – Admit there’s an issue, and start focusing on that;
- Describe your fears – Put them out there – in a journal, in a conversation with a close friend;
- Identify your strengths – See what your strong points are and how these can help you with your fears;
- Know your limits – Accept that you can’t solve all the problems on your own;
- Know others (resources, objects, people) – You’ll next some external help; what form could this take?
- Know the situation (know your options) – See the context; the fears are not sealed in a vacuum; see the surroundings;
- Clarify your values – You’ll need to react to fears in such a way that is aligned with your personal values;
- Have a compelling why – Why do you want to fight your fears? Find an answer to this;
- Look for the heroes – See who you can model – What other people handled the situation better than you?
- Examine different scenarios – What can you do? What are your options?
- Take small brave steps – Don’t start with the elephant; („A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step” – via)
- Confront your fear – Take action, do the opposite; afraid of dogs? Try to be around them; afraid of a path? Try taking it, nevertheless;
- Make confronting fear it a habit – Once you’ve done a choice once, try to turn it into a habit;
- Celebrate courageous actions – Give yourself a pat on the shoulder when you have some success, no matter how small;
- Exercise 20 seconds of insane courage – From time to time (how about once a week?) try something really out of your comfort zone; this might build confidence;
- Think positively (Believe in yourself) – Don’t put the problems and errors in front of you; consider you’ll succeed;
- Say “I love you” – “When is a monster not a monster? Oh, when you love it.” ― Caitlyn Siehl, Literary Sexts: A Collection of Short & Sexy Love Poems;
- See yourself as courageous (Placebo effect) – If you imagine things your way, being brave and successful, you might have bigger chances of making a dream come true; but what am I saying? Let’s use Placebo and say you’ll surely succeed by doing this;
- Carry a talisman (Placebo effect) – If you can bring an external object or entity and involve it in the process, and if you think this will help, this might actually do;
- Embrace failure (Don’t aim for perfection) – Accept some failure, and don’t expect things to go 100% perfect;
- Continue to learn – Failed once? Learn from it, and avoid repeating the mistakes;
- Keep trying – Don’t build a task (do it, fail, stop); instead – build a system (do it, fail; do it again, fail; do it again until you succeed; never ever stop); „… never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never-in nothing, great or small, large or petty — never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense” (America’s National Churchill Museum | Never Give In, Never, Never, Never)
- Get support and accountability with coaching – There are people who are trained in helping others succeed with their plans; get their support;
Resources used for this article and additional reading
- How to Be Brave: 9 Ways to Conquer Your Fears
- 7 Ways to Feel More Courageous
- How to be brave: 8 strategies to have more courage
- Be Brave: How To Build Your Professional Courage
- 10 Ways to Live a More Courageous Life | Inc.com
- 9 Ways to Become More Courageous | The Art of Manliness
- 7 Tips on How to be Courageous
- 5 Ways to Become More Courageous
- How To Build Courage [EFFECTIVE TIPS] SmallBusinessify.com
- Courage, Being Brave | SkillsYouNeed
- Courage vs. Confidence: Why Courage is More Important | Better Humans
- Courage Exercises: 10 Ways to Practice Being Bold – SoulSalt
- Six Ways to Find Your Courage During Challenging Times – NCYI – National Center for Youth Issues
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