The Cole's Notes on Courage
Updated: Dec 2, 2020
There are moments in our lives that clearly demonstrate the separation between being in a given state and feeling a certain way.
How do you figure?
Anytime you’ve had to push through fear because the situation required you to act.
Terrible case of arachnophobia. Yet, still managing to trap the spider and set it free outdoors. Why? It needed to be done.
Crippling fear of public speaking. Yet, still communicating your arguments clearly when push came to shove. Why? The message was too important to stay silent.
Self-conscious about your level of insight on a given topic. Yet, still providing your point of view and asking thought-provoking questions. Why? You want to create value. You know this requires a clear understanding of facts to ensure you offer a solution that helps.
While seemingly mundane all the above are acts of courage.
Could you define an act of courage, in a nutshell?
An act of courage stems from three distinct cerebral activities.
The first is acknowledging your fear, giving yourself permission to feel it. The second is analyzing the consequences and having a real sense of the landscape in front of you, and the last activity stems from the decision that you make. Specifically, deciding that you care enough about what’s in front of you to take a step forward, despite the fear.
Et voilà, the quintessential recipe to courage.
The secret people often keep to themselves is courage is the soil that nourishes confidence.
Building confidence in your ability to survive and thrive takes small acts of courage, seizing the moments, big or small, that require you to push through your fears. In time, bit by bit, you’ll find yourself taking on bigger and harder challenges with higher degrees of confidence. Having a track record of experiences to draw from, that demonstrate you have what it takes within you to push through, is confidence that is both grounded and rooted in fact - it’s hard to shake.
What if I try and I fail? You’re telling me that’s going to help my confidence?
Even in the moments where you were unsuccessful, you know you tried. The only thing you’re responsible for is your best. Your best at any given point in time, changes the more you try and the harder you push.
Knowing how it feels to almost make it, is the same as having someone put a delicious plate of food in front of you, and then taking it away. If you’re determined, you’ll try again and get that much closer, if not succeed. With each failure you gain a new skill, you also gain deeper knowledge of what succeeding will require of you. Those that fail and continue to push, cultivate a different mindset in the way they approach the next opportunity.
So, whatever fear you are facing, that is in the way of the possibilities you're entertaining, know you can push through it. You don’t need to feel strong, to be strong. Alternatively you don’t need to feel ready, to be ready. Readiness is a state of mind. There will always be reasons to wait, risks that leave you feeling unsure, and comforts that hold you back from pushing forward.
Not to be the bearer of bad news but too late does exist.
There are many people who took time for granted, and for them, those possibilities have passed. If it’s not the case for you, and you can take that leap into the unknown, despite the disruption that it will bring to your life and whatever plans you might have had, I hope you do it.
All of life is risky. It’s been that way since the day each of us was born. Be willing to take a chance, the present moment is filled with them.
My final words of wisdom: living in fear, in timidity, is a life not lived.
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