The dictionary defines courage as the ability to control fear in a situation even if it's dangerous or unpleasant. All of us require courage in day to day situations and many of us are not living our full potential because of lack of courage. There is a famous quote by Mark Twain, "In the end, you only regret the chances you didn't take" and the reason behind not taking those chances is lack of courage. I myself as a kid have always been shy & fearful and didn't have the courage to do many things which now I regret. Thus, if we want to live a regret free life it is important to have courage. So how can we have the courage to do anything. Here are some easy tools to follow that can help you find courage:
1. Worst case scenario for Yes & No
First of all, analyse if you said yes to the decision what is the worst case that could happen. For example if you have to ask a girl out for a date but you don't have the courage to do so, analyse what would be the worst case scenario if you ask her out. Maybe she would say no. The worst case that could happen then is that your ego might hurt, you would feel humiliated and might not have the confidence again to ask any girl out.
Now analyse what is the worst case that could happen if you don't ask the girl out and remain as friends. The worst case that could happen is that you will remain single and you wouldn't come to know whether she feels the same way. Also, the worst that could happen is that she starts dating someone else. This might break Your heart and you would never figure out whether you two had a chance together! Now analyse which one of the worst case scenario is the worst -
1) asking her out and being rejected or
2) not knowing how she feels about you and letting her date someone else.
If asking her out and getting rejected is something you cannot bear then do not ask her out but if not knowing what would have been and letting her go with someone else is more worse for you, then build up the courage to ask her out.
Remember, there is rarely a worst case scenario, from which you cannot rise back again.
2. Best Case scenario for Yes & No
Now analyse the best case scenario in the same example. The best case could be that she says yes and you both start dating together. And the best case when you don't ask her out could be that you two remain friends and you are not rejected and you continue to share the same bonding as friends. Thus, if the best case scenario in option one is better than option 2, then build up the courage to ask her out but if you feel option 2 is better than option one then stay where you are.
3. Understand what scares you
Suppose you have an opportunity to give a public talk. Your fear is getting the better of you and you don't have the courage to go on stage and address 100 people. So try to understand what is the fear that is preventing you to take this step. Is it the fear of forgetting what you have to speak in front of a hundred people or the fear of getting humiliated? When you have figured out your fear, turn the negative statements in your head into positive ones by saying that "I will address the people easily and confidently". Understand that forgetting your speech doesn't define who you are. It is just an incident that took place. Even if you forgot some lines you will cover it up with another substantial statement. In the previous example of a boy asking out a girl the main fear could be the fear of rejection. In this case, remember that the girl saying no doesn't mean that you become a bad person. She is not rejecting you. It is just that in the timing you both are not meant to be together. That doesn't make you or her a bad person. Everyone's soul is on its own unique journey and for the time being both of yours' paths are different.
4. Do your Homework
Suppose you have a massive interview to face and you are not finding the courage to give the interview. After doing the due diligence of the worst case and the best case scenario, identify what is the fear you are having? Is it the fear of performing badly, freezing in front of panelists or fear of not getting the job? Identify which is the fear that is keeping you from giving the interview. Then do your homework to get over the various possibilities. For example if you have the fear that you are going to freeze in front of panelists and will not be able to answer any question then practice answers well before facing them. If you have the fear that you won't get the opportunity to get the job then keep applying to various other jobs as well so that you are not solely dependent on one interview's decision. When you do your homework well, the chances of finding courage to face the panelists will be high. Likewise in every situation where you need to find courage, do your homework and due diligence well about all the worst-case scenarios that could happen and work on them and improve those behaviours that would make the worst case scenario the least probability that could happen.
5. Imagine You are 100
Imagine you have turned hundred and today is your last day on the planet Earth. Now will you regret not doing the things for which you are trying to find the courage? If yes, then please muster up the courage and do the thing. If no, then continue to stay as you are. It's a simple yet very effective tool. Usually it is found that when you are nearing death all your ego based fear vanishes away and you suddenly build up the courage to do everything you had wished for. Thus don't wait to turn hundred to find courage to do things & start today. But do ensure you are not harming your loved ones or community in the process.
Following the courageous path, may not guarantee a pain free route but it will surely guarantee a regret free one. The question is, whether you want to live a pain free life or a regret free one? If the answer is the latter, then build up your courage muscles and go ahead with what you want to do. Read my previous blog on How to overcome self doubt. How have you dealt with situations where you had to find the courage to go ahead? Comment below and share your knowledge.