I’ve been hearing some talks on courage for the past two weeks. People from the likes of Darren Hardy to marketing gurus have stressed about the importance of this one quality. Apparently, even Aristotle think it’s the most important trait to have.
Why Is It So Important To Have?
Entrepreneurship is not for the timid.
We’ve all heard stories about people who have done insanely courageous acts. A war veteran who jumps on top of a grenade to save his comrades. The traffic lady who gets hit by a car because she pushes a kid out of the way to save him. The mom who battles cancer and has to put on a brave front every day for her kids. The freshman who chooses to move halfway across the country to pursue his or her goals. The entrepreneur who risks everything in hopes of changing the world. Everyday people who just perform extraordinary acts of courage.
Every single person I have ever spoken to or encountered who has made an impact possesses courage: the ability to recognize fear, but decide to do the darn thing anyway. Whenever I see someone holding themselves back, I believe it’s usually caused by a lack of courage in one thing or another. Sometimes they fear criticism. At other times, it’s rejection. For some, it’s the feeling of not being good enough. Or it’s an age issue. Or abilities. Or talent. Or skills. Or all of the above and more.
The worst part for me is when I see someone with so much potential and they stay average because they have so much fear. It’s almost like they’re paralyzed by it.
Let’s Get Personal
The reason Breaking Boundaries finally materialized was because I realized I was afraid. Afraid of what? Same things that all other people are afraid of–ridicule, criticism, not being good enough, no experience, etc. I’ve always prided myself in being able to overcome fear and it dawned on me that the reason behind my hesitation wasn’t because of the reasons I told myself. It was because I didn’t want to leave myself vulnerable and open to the world.
I asked myself, “IF I weren’t afraid, would I go do it?” And the answer was a resounding “YES!” So, I went ahead and did it. Why? Because I didn’t wanna be the type of person who allows fear to hold them back. If I fail? Fuck it. At least I tried. Regret. That is the one thing I’m afraid of the most. Regretting that I didn’t bother to try at all. I don’t wanna be old and wondering what would have happened had I done what I wanted to do. Regret stings, man.
So, here goes:
If you wanna change the world, make an impact, be remembered, you gotta confront your fears. Cliché.
But I’m surprised at how many talented people remain mediocre because they’re just too scared. I have a pet peeve about this actually. A huge one. So huge that it’s almost painful. Sometimes, with certain people in my life or some business owners I consult with, I wish they saw themselves the way I see them. If they did, they’ll never doubt their capabilities again.
To some, courage is something they were born with. Their comfort zone is so huge that they make tasks others struggle with look easy. But what about those who get stopped in their tracks because of fear?
What I Tell Them Is..
Breathe. Just breathe. Rationalize that fear. I’d like to quote that Asian dude from the movie, The Hangover, “..But did you die???” (This line always cracks me up.) I’m saying this because most fears are irrational. They’re made up in your head. You should be afraid of some things, yes, like a lion coming at you. But most fears are just make believe.
“You must realize that fear is not real. It is a product of thoughts you create. Do not misunderstand me. Danger is real, but fear is a CHOICE.” – Cypher Raige, After Earth
So, take a deep breath and realize that you are not in control of your mind right now.
Then, face your fears. Acknowledge that you’re fearful. Take it as a challenge. Ask yourself, “Do I wanna be a wimp?” Just kidding. Not really. But you do need to assess whether you’d like to be the kind of person who cowers in fear or the type of person who takes shit on. OORAH!
Lastly, and this is where most people fall off, is to act. Some people may be breathing, have acknowledged the fear, and made the decision. They say they want to be the courageous person. Great!
And then it comes time to ACT.
To do the very thing you’re afraid of. To kill the fear. To come out on top. There is absolutely no other way to eradicate the fear. At least, for me, this is the only way I know how.
It’s sort of a Catch-22, ain’t it? In order to not be afraid, you have to do what you’re afraid of. This is exciting to me. This means I’m challenging my limits. It means I’m growing. It means I can potentially achieve my grandest ambitions.
This means I’m BREAKING BOUNDARIES. That’s always a good enough reason for me.
I hope it is for you too.