Do you struggle with fear in your day-to-day life? Do you feel like you need to be more courageous in order to chase your dreams, or make the most out of your opportunities?
Acting with courage doesn’t mean blindly taking bold leaps without fear. Instead, it can mean recognizing your fears, and taking small steps to confront them.
Try to use the following techniques to embrace courage and make it a part of your daily life:
1. Get out of your comfort zone
Fear of negative consequences is often the reason why we don’t take chances in life. But not taking chances leaves us with feelings of regret. When we think back on what we’ve accomplished, we most often reflect on times that we displayed courage to achieve what we wanted.
Building courage typically involves placing ourselves in new and potentially scary situations: stepping outside the comfort zone that can dominate our day-to-day lives.
Today, start off small. Go take a walk in an area you’ve never been. Try a new restaurant, and don’t be afraid to eat by yourself. Strike up a conversation with someone who you haven’t spoken to before.
Taking small steps outside our comfort zone helps us build confidence when facing the unfamiliar. These small steps can help give us the courage to tackle bigger challenges, like moving abroad or proposing marriage.
2. Reduce your stress
High stress levels can keep us feeling exhausted or overwhelmed, and feeling overwhelmed can prevent us from taking courageous actions. If you ever feel like you have too much on your plate, look for ways to reduce your stress and free your mind to think with courage.
Make sure you take time for yourself every day, even if it’s for only a few minutes. Set a daily reminder to meditate or practice mindfulness, or just dedicate some time to evaluate your own needs.
Perhaps you could use a vacation, or just a short break. If the thought of acting with courage causes you to feel exhausted, you probably need to take some time to yourself to reduce your stress levels.
3. Think about the alternatives
When faced with a tough decision, try to imagine what your life will look like if you act versus if you don’t. Think about the worst thing that could happen if you act, and then think about what would happen if you don’t act at all.
In many cases, you might be surprised to discover that the feeling of regret you would feel by not acting is far worse than any consequence of acting would be. Many times, comparing these two extremes will motivate you to act with courage.
While thinking about the consequences, you can also imagine yourself acting in a difficult situation: what do you say? What do you do? Often, working through these situations in your mind will give you the confidence to approach them in person.
4. Embrace failure
Don’t think of failure as a worst-case scenario: view it as a chance to learn and grow. Nobody is successful from the start: we all need to learn from our mistakes in order to move forward. Fear of failure can result in becoming a perfectionist, but prevents any real growth.
Instead, think of failure as a natural experience that we should embrace. Tell yourself that failure is not a negative, but something that will help you grow as a person.
Failure allows us to see different perspectives, learn new things, and make changes that will ultimately lead to future success. Most importantly, it takes courage to fail: failure means that you have tried to do something, instead of doing nothing at all.
“Success is usually the culmination of controlling failure.”
– Sylvester Stallone