“Courage is not the absence of fear but the judgment that something else is more important than fear. The brave may not live forever but the cautious do not live at all. For now you are traveling the road between who you think you are and who you can be.” - Meg Cabot
The founding of the USA was based on courage. A relatively small group of people had the courage to confront the British army in the quest of liberty and freedom. Compared to the British, who had the world’s most powerful military at the time, the Americans were poorly equipped and trained.
Yet, due to their courage, combined with their desire for freedom, they prevailed. It is because of their success that we have the privilege of now living in the greatest country in the world.
Although fear is learned experientially, courage is the mental trait that enables you to conquer fear. When fear is in control, you are severely hampered in your quest for a fulfilling and satisfying life. Fear prevents you from taking the necessary steps to attain your goals and realize your dreams.
Those lacking in courage allow fear to prevail. They accept whatever fate comes their way. They give up at the slightest adversity. They are more adept at identifying problems than finding solutions.
Courage doesn’t eliminate fear. Rather, it gives you the power to overcome your fear so that its power to inhibit your actions is minimized. Although some people have more innate courage than others, anyone can increase their courage. The approach is simple: do what you are afraid to do and go where you are afraid to go.
Being courageous is not the same as acting recklessly. Courageous people think before acting. They constantly reevaluate their circumstances and are ready to alter their strategy immediately as needed.
There are certain professions where courage is one of the job qualifications. Military, law enforcement, health care, and firefighting certainly are at the forefront of jobs requiring above average courage.
Courage is an asset in many “routine” areas of life as well. Growing up, being a student, becoming a parent all take more courage than you give yourself credit for.
Courage is needed for any undertaking where there are no guarantees. Actually, courage to some degree is needed for every aspect of life. Once you acknowledge how much courage you use, your ability to tap into your courage as needed increases.
Developing your courage takes practice. Fortunately, practice opportunities occur daily. Anytime you face the possibility of failure, you can summon up your courage to forge forward. To motivate yourself, compare the results of doing nothing with the rewards of success.
If you do fail, what’s the worst that can happen? Luckily, most of us don’t have to make life and death decisions. So the worst case scenario isn’t nearly as bad as we make it out to be.
Criticism and ridicule are recurring issues that provide ample opportunity fortify your courage. Remember, it doesn’t matter what other people say, think, or do. Use your courage to tune out distracting input from others. Your reward for doing so is personal freedom.
Become inspired by the countless examples of courage throughout history as well the numerous stories of courage in the headlines. You have as much courage as anyone else. All that differentiates people is how much they tap into it.
If you wish you had more courage, the good news is that you already do. All you need to do is take advantage of every opportunity to use it. With practice, acting courageously will become an automatic response.
NOW AVAILABLE: "Dare to Live Without Limits," the book. Visit www.BryanGolden.com or your bookstore. Bryan is a management consultant, motivational speaker, author, and adjunct professor. E-mail Bryan at firstname.lastname@example.org or write him c/o this paper. 2011 Bryan Golden