Courage. What makes a King out of a slave? Courage.
What makes the flag on the mast to wave? Courage.
What makes the elephant charge his tusk in the misty mist or the dusky dusk?
What makes the muskrat guard his musk? Courage.
What makes the Sphinx the 7th Wonder? Courage.
What makes the dawn come up like THUNDER?! Courage
The Cowardly Lion from the Wizard of Oz
- Are we born with a certain amount of courage?
- Can we self-create courage? If yes, how? How long will it last?
- If you feel fear, does it mean you aren’t courageous?
Change almost always causes discomfort. It pushes us, it generates fears, anxiety, even panic. For more than one year we’ve witnessed tremendous, unplanned changes.
I believe this period has created a great opportunity to ignite our courage and resilience. It would be extremely beneficial to ask ourselves:
- On a scale of 1 (low) to 10 (high), how Courageous was I feeling in March 2020?
- Using the same scale of 1 (low) to 10 (high), what is my level of Courage NOW?
Oftentimes, the blessing of a difficult life period comes in the form of Courage.
In the last three years, while sharing my transformation journey, I’ve been asked what I’ve gained throughout it. The answer is simple: Courage. And once I received this gift, I am doing my best to nurture it, day by day.
Too many times, people think you are either born courageous or you're not.
Of course, nature plays a role in determining who has or hasn’t courage. Research in neuroscience shows that some people have a “Type T” personality. These individuals may have fewer dopamine receptors in their brains to record sensations of pleasure and satisfaction -- and as such, may require higher levels of stimulant and endorphin activity in order to feel good. Their higher level of testosterone, a hormone that seems to correlate with uninhibited behavior, may also lead to a more risk-oriented lifestyle.
Manfred F.R. Kets de Vries, psychotherapist and Professor of leadership development and organizational change at INSEAD shares a handful of techniques we can use to find and practice our courage:
- Create scenarios: imagine both the worst that could happen if we take a given action and what the outcome would be if we didn’t act. By identifying the risks we are taking, we can build immunity to our fears. It's important to recognize that fear is not a bad thing. Look at it as an opportunity to learn more about who you are and why you might be afraid.
- Talk out the fear beneath - If you take the time to voice your fears and understand why they are there, you will become braver. It is not easy to acknowledge where and when you are vulnerable. So, if you’re able to face those fears you're one step closer to being courageous.
- Practice stepping out of your comfort zone - Consciously and consistently practicing small acts of courage can have a cumulative effect.
- Take care of your body: Fear is both physically and mentally draining. In a crisis, make sure you take the time to eat well, exercise and sleep. Using various relaxation techniques such as meditation or yoga creates the clarity of mind required for courageous action.
- Having people with whom you can freely share your fears can be a valuable resource when you are faced with a challenge to your courage.
In the last 365 days, did you learn something new about your level of courage? If yes, please take a moment and describe that “thing”, using written words or a drawing.
My gift for you at the end of this short article includes:
- A movie about a courageous boy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RuR5r4kfhjg
- A book about courage: https://www.publica.ro/scott-harrison-sete.html
- Roxana Lupu’s words about courage: “Yes, it's truly a virtue which cannot be simulated because it has to do, in the first place with vulnerability. Courage is not possible in the absence of vulnerability. When you’ve fully embraced your vulnerability, that's when you also have great courage. And, in fact, through this courage you inspire people and you become, in one way or another, a hero. Every day, we learn the power of courage...” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fr-zvpdDuTk&t=7s
*** Special thanks to Manfred F.R. Kets de Vries for his insightful studies.
*** Please feel free to share any of your insights about what you read with me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I am always happy to engage around these topics and provide added guidance.