If you've ever watched the movie, "The Wizard of Oz," you probably remember the Cowardly Lion. The Cowardly Lion is a fictional character that accompanies Dorothy on her journey through the woods and across the Yellow Brick Road. He is one of several characters that Dorothy meets along the way.
Each of Dorothy's friends, while rich in spirit, lack a certain asset. The Tin Man, for instance, lacks a heart. He is certainly smart and put together, but lacks the ability to feel and express love. The Scarecrow lacks a brain. The Cowardly Lion has both a heart and a brain, but lacks the courage needed to live his life.
What is courage and why is it so important? You might recall that the Scarecrow was nice and thoughtful, but was afraid of everything! He let his fears get in the way of standing up for what he believed in and wanted most – an ounce of courage. Courage is defined as one's ability to be brave or fearless. Courage enables a person to stand up and fight for what they truly believe in. It is a personal asset that allows an individual to stand strong among adversity and deal with setbacks and failure with ease.
Just like the Cowardly Lion, a person is not always born with courage. It is not an asset that is innately guaranteed at birth. It is, however, an asset that everyone has the potential to develop over the course of a lifetime. So, how do you become more courageous? Here are ten easy ways to build up your courage in no time.
10. Be Open and Honest About Your Fears
One of the first steps in becoming more courageous is acknowledging the fact that you lack courage in the first place! You cannot begin to build courage unless you recognize and acknowledge the fact that it is, indeed, lacking.
In order to become more courageous, you must be open and honest about your fears. This means being open and honest with yourself, as well as with others that are close to you. When it comes to being honest with yourself, it is important to face the facts. What are you most afraid of? Why are you afraid of this particular object, person, or event? What are some things that you can do to overcome this fear? It is important that you work through your fears on your own. Come to terms with them and accept them for what they are. Once you accept your fears, you can develop a strategy to overcome them.
It is also important that you have a conversation with others about your fears. Let them know what you are dealing with and how you are feeling. Be honest with them about your fears and let them know that you have come to terms with them, but need some additional support in building up the courage needed to tackle them head on. Sometimes, just a small conversation can lead to big results when it comes to building your skills and becoming a stronger, more courageous individual.
There are many occasions where modern society deems vulnerability a bad thing. Being vulnerable isn't a bad thing at all. On the contrary, vulnerability allows you to grow. When you open yourself up to all of the things in this world that you think can hurt you, you give yourself the ability to learn, grow, and thrive.
Vulnerability is defined as the state of being exposed to emotional, social, psychological, or physical harm. Harm, in this case, can be defined in a lot of different ways. While you certainly don't want to expose yourself to any serious threats, vulnerability is an important characteristic in becoming a more well-rounded and courageous individual.
Too often, people put up a guard or a wall to prevent themselves from ever feeling vulnerable. They believe that vulnerability is a sign of weakness and strive to protect themselves from being hurt. Vulnerability is actually necessary for character building. Opening up and allowing yourself to be vulnerable is one of the best ways to learn and to grow. By facing your fears, getting hurt, getting let down, and standing back up in the face of failure, you will grow to become a much more courageous individual.
Have you ever admired or looked up to someone that you considered to be very successful? Perhaps they have a wonderful home life or a lucrative career. Perhaps, to you, they have everything.
Chances are that the person you admire most has something that he or she fears. Chances are, also, that they have learned how to face their fear and use fear to their advantage to achieve an admirable level of personal and professional success.
Everyone has fears, but not everyone knows how to confront them. When it comes to becoming a more courageous individual, facing your deepest fear is critical.
Opening up, admitting that you are afraid, and learning how to deal with your emotion is key to developing a high level of courage.
You are probably thinking that this is all easier said than done, correct? Facing your fears doesn't have to be difficult. One of the best ways to face your fears is to go slow. Think about what you are afraid of and make yourself come to terms with the emotion that is linked to this particular event, behavior, or activity. Sometimes it is helpful to write about it or talk to someone about how you are feeling. It is also helpful to think positive thoughts. Often times, fear is simply an illusion. It is something that we concoct in our heads to talk ourselves out of something. Thinking positive thoughts can help curb these irrational feelings.
Whatever strategy you choose to use, facing your fears is a critical component of becoming a stronger, more courageous adult.
7. Step Out of Your Comfort Zone
Another way to become more courageous is to step outside your comfort zone. Your comfort zone is the space in which you feel the most comfortable. It is the neutral state that you tend to lean towards. Your comfort zone may include particular trends or routines that make you feel comfortable on a regular basis.
Let's say, for instance, that there is a particular way you like to start your day. Every day, you wake up and eat breakfast. Then, perhaps, you go to the gym and walk on the treadmill for an hour. Afterwards, you return home to shower, drink a quick cup of coffee, and skip out the door on your way to work. This is a routine. Most people get swept up in the routine of their daily lives. It becomes familiar and comfortable. The minute most people step outside of this routine, their day suddenly becomes much different. Perhaps slightly more awkward and uncomfortable. For most people, however, this mix up in the schedule can be a great way to learn new things, build character, and seek new opportunity.
In order to become more courageous, you must seek opportunities to step outside of your comfort zone. It may be scary at first, but it will open you up to so much opportunity. When people step outside of their comfort zones, as research shows, they become more productive, more fulfilled, and have an easier time adjusting to the ebb and flow of life. Stepping outside of your comfort zone is not always easy. It is best to start with baby steps. Switch things up and try something new. Seek out new challenges and opportunities. By doing this, you will undoubtedly become a stronger, smarter, and more courageous individual.
While it is certainly important to step outside your comfort zone, it is also important to be objective. When it comes to certain, fearful situations, sometimes taking a step back and reanalyzing the situation can help you overcome irrational thoughts and emotions.
Take public speaking, for instance. Imagine that you have a terrible fear of speaking in front of large groups of people. Every time you step in front of an audience to share your thoughts, you freeze. You begin to panic. Anxiety sets in. Your body responds by growing more rigid. Your body temperature spikes, which makes you sweat. As you open your mouth, you may stumble over your words and feel foolish. You may think that everyone is looking at you and silently judging you. Perhaps, judging harshly or unfavorably, as you stumble over your own words.
The picture that you paint in your head is, often times, much worse than the reality of the situation at hand. Even if you did get a little nervous standing in front of a large group of people, what are they going to do? What is the worst thing that can happen? In the worst case scenario, perhaps they 'boo' you off the stage. Even if they did, what would happen? At most, you would feel slightly embarrassed. Eventually, you would learn to move on from that experience.
Being courageous is all about taking chances and facing your fears, head on. When it comes to public speaking, for instance, it is important to stop the stream of negative thoughts in your head by taking a step back and reanalyzing the situation. Is it really as bad as it seems? Little by little, you will start to overcome your fears by employing more practical and logical thoughts.