Life puts you through a lot of challenges. From when you wake up every morning to when you go to bed every night, keeping a strong and motivated mindset is indeed tough, but those who succeed are the ones who emerge victorious in life. The most essential thing is that we step up and face life’s challenges, irrespective of the outcome. It’s in times of adversity that a person’s strength of will is tested. Courage is the prerequisite for success in life — the capacity and readiness to take on situations with your head raised high in spite of the risks.
Author Steven Kotler talks about the many different types of courage that we can exhibit in life. Let us look now at a few ways in which we ourselves can begin living our lives with courage, so we can achieve our potentials and make our stamp on the world.
5 Key Steps to Live with Courage and Make Your Mark
Courage is the most important of all the virtues because without courage, you can’t practice any other virtue consistently.
― Maya Angelou (more quotes)
1. Embrace fear
As said by the blind prisoner in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises, “How can you move faster than possible, fight longer than possible, without the most powerful impulse of the spirit: the fear of death?” One cannot be courageous without accepting the presence of fear. It is that fear which will in turn make us more courageous as we embrace it but do not obsess over it.
Fear comes first, but when followed by unstoppable courage never can someone be stopped in their tracks from achieving something. Living fearlessly is impossible, as it is fear that gives rise to courage. So, let that fear kick in, but make sure that your courage takes over and keeps you moving forward.
2. Gain competence
It is said the key to being more confident and believing in yourself is to become more competent. Once you master a certain skill, courage automatically kicks in and leads you to victory. Competence is the key to excellence, and what gives you the courage and confidence to take on any challenge in life. But remember, a competent person is always learning, and should never become over-confident about certain skills or talents.
3. Know yourself
The biggest thing stopping you from not being courageous is probably yourself. Your fear, your thoughts and your pessimistic attitude are stopping you from living with courage. Hence, start understanding your mind and getting to know yourself. Unless you are aware of your needs, faults, achievements and ill-habits, you cannot improve upon yourself — and hence, can never build courage. When you truly know yourself, only then can you step up to any challenge in life.
4. Stay active
The day you lay down on the sofa and choose to munch on snacks in front of the television instead of taking on that task that has been pending for a long time, your courage begins to weaken. No one can make you take action except yourself, and as this laziness starts to kick in, your graph of success in life starts to go down. Courage, like any other quality, needs to be nurtured continuously. So keep that energy level high and keep up the motivation to work hard and persevere through the challenges of life.
5. See the bigger picture
If you focus selfishly on the gains you might get from success, I promise you will never find your courage. It’s only when you can visualize the benefit on a larger scale, by focusing on helping others, that you find the motivation to take on the challenges, and the courage to persevere through the inevitable losses and failures. Having the courage to speak up against wrongdoing or injustices irrespective of the consequences that might follow is one example of this. Hence, you can be more courageous only when you remove the “you” from the equation and focus on the bigger picture.
Now go out and live with courage!
There you have it, the keys to being more courageous in whatever task or challenge comes your way in life. Remember that being courageous is indeed the difference between a successful and unsuccessful person — but more importantly, that we need to have courage in life in order to stand up against the misdoings, and in favor of a better world.