Five Tips To Build Courage In Life

Do you live life courageously or does fear rule your life? To be brave and to live courageously in today’s fearful world is a huge challenge for most.

The only example that I received growing up on the subject came from my father. He told me that being bad in the sense of being brave in life meant that you were ultimately willing to give up EVERYTHING in your life for what you believe in. Realistic or not, that was the only true measure of bravery and courage that was modeled for me as a young man. Ultimately, his words may be true but I believe there are too many variables when it comes to what we have to overcome in life and face with courage to apply this rule 100% of the time.

For you to live with courage, it is like everything else in life. It takes practice. As Aristotle once said, you build courage by performing courageous acts.

The thing about having courage and using that courage to face a fear is that once faced, whatever you were once afraid of is no longer menacing.

“Warriors confront their demons head-on; by doing so, you’ve dissolved them.” – Dan Millman

Courage is the ability to face danger, difficulty, uncertainty, or pain without being overcome by fear or being deflected from a chosen course of action. So how do you build courage? What steps do you need to take to be braver in life? You can increase your courage with the following five tips.

  1. Live your life authentically. Do the things that you are inspired to do and that inspire you. Speak from your heart and speak the truth always. Do not edit or censor yourself for the sake of approval from others. Be vulnerable and allow yourself to be exposed to not only praise but to failure and criticism as well. Courage and vulnerability actually are one in the same. If you have the courage to live your life authentically then you are going to believe in yourself. Believing in yourself is important because you are the reflection of your thoughts and if you believe you are bigger than the problem, then you will build the strength to face it.
  2. Acknowledge your fears. Identify and acknowledge the very thing you fear. Give it a name and bring it out into the open. Most fears once acknowledged and brought into the light of day lose the majority of their power over you. The key is to recognize your fear, but do not give power to it. Name your fear and it will lose its power over you.
  3. Take Risks. Use common sense of course and know the difference between a risk and a dumb idea. By taking risks on a regular basis you will build more and more confidence with each success. If you were not successful, then you got an education, which you did not have before. When it comes to taking risks, always ask yourself, “what is the worse thing that can happen?” Most times, you will discover that the worst-case scenario is no different from what are living or experiencing right now, so you might as well take the chance.
  4. Welcome the unknown. Don’t allow the unknown or your fear of the unknown paralyze you into standing still. Taking unconventional and unknown paths requires taking risks and it takes courage to go where others dare or have never thought of before. Be willing to go into the void and to dance in the grey areas of life. I believe that more good comes to us from the unknown than bad.
  5. Take small steps if you must. But take steps! Your first time on a high diving board it is not likely that you ran and took a giant leap off the end of board into the water. You probably took small steps inching closer and closer to the end of the diving board and looked down before jumping. I know I did. Never discount the courage it takes to move forward with even the smallest of steps. Slowly, but surely build up your courage by doing the things you typically shy away from by taking one-step at a time.

Everyday life takes courage and bravery. But isn’t it in those mixed moments where fear meets courage that you feel the most alive? Isn’t that where you feel the magic of life? The obstacle or challenge presents itself, you feel the initial reaction of fear, and then when you face it head on with courage and strength, knowing that you are doing your best, whether you succeed or not, isn’t that really just the overall rhythm of life? Be brave, be courageous, heck, even be crazy if you must, but choose facing what you fear over backing down from it, always. As Carlos Castendeda wrote, “The aim is to balance the terror of being alive with the wonder of being alive.”

Be brave and be alive!

Andy Wooten M.A. Counseling – Life Coach – Aspen, Colorado


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