I am convinced one of the most exceptional values one can possess for success in any area of our lives is courage. The instinct of fear paralyzes us to the point that we stop pursuing our dreams and any opportunity of progress. It limits our capacity to experiencing even joy in this short life experience.
Fear is felt for a variety of reasons and in a range of degrees.
Most of us experience fear every day several times during the day. A study was done on stress, it was shared we experience fear at least thirteen times during the day, knowingly and even sometimes unknowingly. At every case, fear affects us at the level of the brain, then at the level of our physiology, and finally every aspect of our lives.
There is extreme fear like the one in phobia. I personally struggled with phobia to heights. At one point, I could not go skiing because the fear of experiencing the lift bringing me to the top of the mountain was unbearable. Since I was young, I was unable to jump from any trampoline to the pool. For me, it was sad and even embarrassing that something others were able to enjoy, felt for me as if I was dying.
I am not sure the reason why some people develop more fear than others or what triggers participated, but I can recall being always so fearful since I was very young.
Many people think that those that do brave things like are fearless, but it is not always that way. Being brave is like knowing the potential danger and feeling some level of fear, yet being determined to do what is scary until it becomes natural.
Entering elementary school can be scary for many kids, as it is entering college, having your first job interview or traveling in an airplane. We all know none of these things could have been achieved without courage. Yet, many decide to never travel or to never apply for that dream job. Many would say it is not natural to fly and decide never to take an airplane. I know some people that think that way.
There are also other types of fear, like the one of experiencing difficult emotions such as frustration or sadness, opting to become escapist or seclude themselves for fear of experiencing them. In any case, cowardliness is never of any value.
Fear is felt in so many ways. Fear does not let us reach our goals, and in my opinion, it is related to the act of victimization. Cowardliness uses victimization as an excuse It seems it is better to blame others or situations than to make a difficult decision or take a fearful action. Recently, a friend of mine was in tears because she felt an overload of obligations at home that were pushing her to close her business and give up on everything she had worked for in the last five years, which now was growing. She was blaming her husband was not helping her enough with her three-year-old boy, even when he also had his own load. After listening to her patiently, I shared with her a quote I found somewhere online. If something is wrong in your life, remember you are the one that has the steering wheel. “Maybe you can get divorced,” I shared. She looked at me terrified, and said, “divorce cannot be the solution! then I said, “ok, then accept your husband and stop complaining.” But she continued to complain about her heavy load with her young kid, to what I suggested daycare; she then looked at me and said, “I could not do that, I would feel so guilty.”
I am not exactly sure if her fear was to success, now that her business was growing and soon it would be necessary to leave her tiny town, if she wanted to grow, or if it was a matter of putting her son on daycare and cope with feeling selfish because she loved her job, but one thing was clear to me, she was afraid of making decisions and prefer to cry and blame.
The antidote to fear
Courage means making a decision to move forward despite of the sense of any type of fear. In the case of an episode of anxiety, being courageous, and facing a panic attack instead of escaping the place you are at that moment, will save you years of therapy and drugs.
Courage is an aspect of great value not only for you but a gift you can give to your children as well. Courage will help your children face a bully with confidence, even if all they need is to ask a teacher for help.
A couple of years ago, I decided to go skiing, and I forced myself to use the lift over and over again. The first time I asked someone to support me. I felt panic, but as it ended, and went and did it again. In my tenth time, it disappeared. It was absolutely nothing. I continue to challenge myself today in different ways. There is still lots of room for improvement, but I am moving on.
Courage is simply the determination to stand strong while facing fear.
How to be courageous in 5 steps
1 Identify your fear and acknowledge.
2 Asses the degree to which you are afraid by writing it down on a scale from 0 (not afraid to 100 (very afraid).
2 Be determined to challenge yourself. Expose yourself to what makes you afraid gradually, small steps first. It will help your brain to accept it as a non-threatening situation, and the fear mechanism will stop.
4 Reward yourself by raising your arms high, feeling proud and saying “I did it.” Or with any other reward, you find convenient.
5 Build your confidence. Have faith in yourself, and if you feel terrified, fake it till you make it. You can do a powerful pose by opening your arms as a confident individual would do.