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How To Be More Courageous

Heart Gate
Creative Commons License photo credit: 9GIX9

cour age    n. The state or quality of mind or spirit that enables one to face danger, fear, or vicissitudes with self-possession, confidence, and resolution; bravery.          – American Heritage Dictionary 

What do you think of when you hear the word “Courage”?  Heroes?  Saving all of mankind and the Earth?  Truthfully, being courageous is much more ordinary than that.  Acts of courage happen everyday, by ordinary people and no matter how small they are, they are still powerful acts.  Use courage when making decisions, and your life will be much richer and fulfilling.

Everyone Has the Capacity to Be More Courageous

Start Small – Acts of courage are still courageous even if they are small.  Don’t discount them – in fact, they are the starting point for consistently being a courageous person.  What are the little things you are afraid of?  Are you afraid to be more assertive with customer service representatives on the phone?  Are you afraid to go into the free-weights area at the gym?  Start small – but make sure you start.

Practice Courage – Just like any other skill, courage can be practiced.  If you begin to consistently make decisions with courage, you will get better at being courageous.  And, your acts of courage will get bigger as you continue.  It’s not that life will be any less scary, it’s that you will have more experience in managing your fear.

Remember that Courage is Relative to Your Own Fears and Abilities –  Your use of courage will be different from others, because courage is relative to your life.  What you are afraid of is not what others are afraid of.  Courage will look different from person to person.  Just remember that you have the ability to handle anything that comes your way, but what’s coming your way will be different from the next person.

Sorrow is a fruit. God does not allow it to grow on a branch that is too weak to bear it. – Victor Hugo

Courage Supports Growth, Fear Supports Stagnation

There are two ways to make decisions in life – by using courage or by using fear.  It’s easy to make decisions using fear, because when we do it appears that we are choosing security and safety.  The catch is that we are also choosing to stand still.  When we make decisions using courage, we are choosing growth and creativity.  And even when our courageous choices are painful, the growth that it brings is highly fulfilling. 

Along the path of our life, our fears are locked gates that stand in our way.  Courage is the key that unlocks the gate so you can continue on your way.  What’s great is that the key is always with you, but if you choose not to use it you will be stuck, never continuing along past the gate.

Security is mostly superstition. It does not exist in nature…Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. The fearful are caught as often as the bold. – Helen Keller

The reason that courage is such a hard choice to make is because courage always involves some kind of pain.  Choices based on fear seem to be an easier choice, because they involve avoiding pain.  But the paradox is that the avoidance of pain only brings you more of it.  While courage is feeling pain and understanding that you can still survive, fear is avoiding pain and realizing that you are no longer living.

 

 

 

 

{ 13 comments… add one }
  • Jarrod - Warrior Development July 17, 2008, 6:01 am

    Courage is really important in regards to making change in life, I liked what you wrote. Particularly,

    “you have the ability to handle anything that comes your way”

    Very true, yet so hard to recognise.

  • Amanda Linehan July 17, 2008, 7:19 am

    Jarrod – I think remembering that is key to being courageous. It makes it just a little easier.

  • Mandro July 17, 2008, 8:25 pm

    Yes… There are two problems though. Often the courageous are all alone, they often don’t even have the backing of the very people they are standing up for. And quite often, they don’t survive…

    The reason that courage is such a hard choice to make is because courage always involves some kind of pain. While courage is feeling pain and understanding that you can still survive,

  • Lance July 18, 2008, 11:51 am

    “Along the path of our life, our fears are locked gates that stand in our way. Courage is the key that unlocks the gate so you can continue on your way. What’s great is that the key is always with you, but if you choose not to use it you will be stuck, never continuing along past the gate.”

    I love that Amanda. It is amazingly true. Sometimes we have to dig deep in the the pockets of our brain or heart to find those keys. But when we do, awesome things can happen!

  • Avani-Mehta July 18, 2008, 2:17 pm

    “While courage is feeling pain and understanding that you can still survive, fear is avoiding pain and realizing that you are no longer living.”

    Wow. That’s so profound. And so true. In acts of courage, what we are saying is that I am still alive and not broken down. I choose living.

  • Amanda Linehan July 19, 2008, 10:37 pm

    Mandro – Sorry! I just hadn’t moderated it yet. Courage does require standing alone sometimes, although I think it also brings you closer to the people around you too.

    Lance – Yeah, awesome things do happen with courage!

    Avani – Choosing life is difficult, but always rewarding.

  • Mandro July 21, 2008, 5:16 pm

    I agree that if there is a group that is standing up for something, then they would be brought very close together. I just meant that these is very little of it in the world these days. Most people won’t stand up for themselves or what they believe in, and when they see someone who does, more often than not, they label that person a troublemaker.

  • Ronnie July 25, 2008, 1:49 pm

    This is definitely an awesome post Amanda. I love your way with words; makes it extremely easy to understand these kinds of topics!

    “Courage Supports Growth, Fear Supports Stagnation”. That is huge. It’s amazing how many people know this, yet they never actually practice it daily.

    I look forward to reading more of your writings, keep it up!

  • Amanda Linehan July 25, 2008, 3:17 pm

    Ronnie – Thanks a lot! I think you are right – there are a lot of things that people know, but don’t always do.

    Hope to see you around again!

  • col March 11, 2010, 3:42 pm

    great post! you are so insightful.

  • Amanda Linehan March 15, 2010, 6:09 pm

    Thanks Col!

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