Find Your Courage
“Courage is the most important of all the virtues because without courage, you can’t practice any other virtue consistently.” ― Maya Angelou
No one was born to be a coward or born with the virtue of courage! All virtues are cultivated. A person who is courageous is not the smartest person in the room, but one who believes in his/her goals.
This is why I love kids. They are ready for new adventures and willing to take risks. It doesn’t mean they are not afraid, but it’s because they are so focused on achieving their goals – be it going on a bumpy ride or a roller coaster, climbing tables and trees, not being afraid to swim etc. They are willing to break new grounds, experiment new things, and their brains are one hundred per cent responsive to the excitement, rather than the fear!
This is a lesson we need to learn from children. As we get older, we become more cautious, we tend to take less risks and play safe, and our brain tends to respond to the caution, rather than taking risks. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with being cautious, but as Anais Nin once said – “life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.”
Life is too short, and we have to seize the day (Carpe diem)! Is there a job you’ve been targeting but you think you’re under qualified? A girl/boy you like, but you feel you’re not good enough, so you’re too afraid to give it a shot? A business you want to start, but you’re too afraid to get investors? And even if you do find investors, you’re afraid they’ll reject you? Ask yourself, what’s the worst that could happen if you take a giant step towards something you believe in. Maybe you’ll get rejected, and even if you do, it’s a lesson, but that does not mean you should give up and stop trying! You must confront your fear. A thousand “no’s” could lead to a giant “yes” someday, as long as you’re fighting for something you believe in.
Courage is a psychological exercise we have to build. Just as we are interested in being physically fit, and getting “6 packs”, we must be psychologically fit and build our courage. How do we do this?
- Accept that being fearful does not equate lack of courage: We must understand that being afraid does not make us cowards. Courage is being afraid but following through to achieve your goal in spite of the fear. It may be a bumpy ride, but courage pushes us through those challenges to the finish line. It’s okay to be afraid, but we must not give up.
- Have faith and build your confidence: You must be your biggest fan! It may not be easy, but you must have faith in yourself. Remember, if you feel inadequate or not good enough, you’re a product of God’s art, and He creates only the best! You must certainly believe in yourself and your goals.
- Take baby steps but take a step first: Make progress outside your comfort zone. Start small and then ultimately, you’ll take bigger steps. The race is not for the swift, but for those who endure till the end. It’ll get easier, as long as you are persistent.
- You must be willing to acquire this virtue: All the other steps above do not matter if you are not willing to build your courage. You must be passionate and hungry to be courageous, and only that desire will lead you to the right path.
Success does not happen in one day, neither does being courageous. I am certain that once we apply these principles, we shall surely achieve our goals. Remember, the world rewards people who believe in themselves.