Saturday, March 10, 2007

Courage – Build It Up Like Your Muscles!

What are your thoughts when you read about someone rescuing a passenger from a burning car? Most people believe that they could never do the same because they would be too terrified to act. This would imply that courageous people are fearless. However, that’s not true. Brave people act even with the presence of fear, not because of its absence. That’s why they are called as heroes. If they were not afraid, anyone can do it.

First of all, courage is meant for you, for me and for everyone! To get the most out of our lives, we need to have it. Do you remember when you were single and you saw someone you would have liked to meet but you avoided because you were shy? Or were you afraid to ask for a promotion or a raise at work? If you disapprove of something but your friends entice you to do it, would you be able to refuse? If you are looking for a job, were there instances you were afraid to apply for certain positions? Well then, the main question would be, if you had the courage to do all these things and everything you wanted to, wouldn’t life be much better? Well, that’s the way it is supposed to be!

An analogy I can think of is courage is our spiritual muscle. Compare its development to our spiritual muscles. To grow more in strength, you regularly work out with weights or a weight machine. You start out by repetitively lifting 10 lb. and over the year, gradually increase the weight to 100 lb. or even more. Anyone can do it.

Thus, you should develop your courage in the same manner. Start by doing small basic tasks you’re afraid to do. Some examples would be requesting payment from a delinquent account, selling to strangers, apologizing to angry customers and answering unpleasant phone calls. Just compare these to the burning car incident, these are far too easy! These are 10 lb. tasks! You can build up your courage with these. Are you scared? Yes? You’re supposed to be. How can you build up courage if you are not scared? So go ahead and do it. In no time, these tasks become easier and easier. Later, you will be ready to do the 20 lb. tasks.

Still, you may hit roadblocks. Now, we should apply a new concept. Analyze your fears and overcome the source! For instance, you were asked to deliver a presentation at the general sales meeting by your boss and you are terribly frightened. After thinking about it, you realize that you are frightened because you don’t know what to present. Then, this simply means you are unprepared. Even the best speakers would be afraid if they were unprepared. So do your task. Your fear will decrease as you organize and develop material.

Another tip would be to think of the consequences of your actions. Ask yourself what is the worst thing that can happen’ what is the best that can happen; and what is the most possible thing that can happen. Let’s say you would like to dance someone at a dance party, but you’re afraid, shy, etc… So ask yourself, what is the worst thing that can happen? Let’s imagine a very rude scenario, the person may say, just for example, “Get away from me; you ugly pig!” Surely you can survive a brief verbal attack, can’t you? Besides, think about it! Such a rude reply is funny. Instead of feeling sorry, you’ll end up laughing instead. So, just smile and walk away.

On the other hand, if the person you asked was polite, the refusal would be less devastating. The response may be, “I'm sorry, but I'm waiting for a friend.” If that’s the case then you could simply say thanks and walk away. Moreover, the best thing that can happen is that the person would cheerfully reply, “I'd be happy to!” isn’t this worth the effort? Definitely! So go ahead and try it. In fact, the more scared you are, the sweeter the success is. It’s all about breaking this barrier!

So confront your fears directly and immediately. Whenever you feel afraid for any reason, do it anyway! You’ll be amazed at your success. Second, do the thing you fear over and over until it has no more power over you. The more you repeat the action, the more courage and confidence you will have.

Life is short but measure life not as the number of breaths we take but through the moments that take our breath away.