Courage is not the absence of fear
Updated: Jul 19, 2020
Are extraordinary people inherently brave, or are they ordinary people who repeatedly act while feeling the fear? Do they become extraordinary?
I used to look at brave people that were often extroverted, like superheroes. My personal thing was brilliant public speakers. If only! If only, I could lose the fear and jump into the pit, take up the stage. When I get rid of this fear, I'll be able to perform like them. Or maybe, they're just different? They are simply talented and brave people who cannot be emulated.
Only after a while I realised my perception of them, myself and this idea of bravery and courage was wrong. I think we have a tendency to look at others only through our own experiences and eyes and not through their own story. When we look at someone and decide who they are, whether it's admiring them or not, it is very one-sided.
For example, even those individuals will feel nervous. After speaking to many people that I admired, I realised that they were also feeling nervous a lot of the time. The ONLY difference is that they could manage these emotions and act in spite of their fear. They also had much more experience. I was seeing them after they had gone through many experiences and learnt from them. How could I compare myself at the starting line to them after many years of practicing?
But enough about others… what's important is where we are. I think a lot of us are waiting for the nerves to go. 'When I can get myself to stop feeling the fear, I will be ready'. But that time is not going to come. Only 'boldness delivers from fear' (Carl Jung). Only our actions and practice can help us manage our fear. No matter how much introspection happens, even with good intentions, until we actually do what we want to do nothing will change. Because until then, it will all be in your head.
Imagination is unbounded. When we bring reality into it, we will slowly realise our catastrophising and over-preparing is not needed. The worst case scenarios are very rare. Whatever happens, you will be okay! But telling yourself this, or others giving you pep talks does not usually work. You have to experience it and feel it yourself.
I believe extraordinary people are made. Not that some people don't have natural talents, but the most inspiring are those who worked hard and spent time discovering their strengths. It is not just their achievements, but their growth that is truly wonderful to see. They constantly try to better themselves.
"You are what you do, not what you say you’ll do" - Carl Jung
We tell ourselves that those brave people are extraordinary and we are ordinary. But throwing ourselves out of the comfort zone, leads to surprising results. The more we expose ourselves to different things, talk to more people and most importantly repeatedly take action, the more you will surprise yourself. This is the best recipe for personal growth.
This quote has always resonated with me...
“Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the assessment that something else is more important than fear.” ― Franklin D. Roosevelt.
So what will it be? Will we embrace our fears, imperfections and mistakes to move forward? Or stay behind and curse the stars?