“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” These profound words of Nelson Mandela on the subjects of courage and fear have everlasting significance.
We have read countless inspirational stories of people braving their fears and turning their lives around. In the case of Mr. Mandela and others like him, living a life of inspiration and purpose created change and awareness. These words allow an inquiry into the contemplation of how courage can create transformation from within, leading to a ripple effect out into the surrounding world.
Fear, by definition, is the feeling of apprehension and worry that comes over us when we expect something bad or unpleasant to happen. We all have different fears that affect us in unique ways.
Some people are afraid of heights and others are afraid of tight spaces; however, there are some fears that are common for all human beings. This happens because it is in our nature, in our very DNA, to become alarmed of dangerous or unpleasant situations in order to protect ourselves.
Just like our personalities, the human nature of the brain is flawed as well. Sometimes this very basic instinct creates fears for us that are not only unnecessary, but stop us from experiencing things that are pleasant. Two common anxieties many of us can relate to are the fears of failure and success.
How many times have you had a business idea, one you thought was brilliant, but you never saw it through because risking money seemed illogical? How many times did you dream bigger than the entire universe but you never took a step towards realizing those aspirations because you were afraid you wouldn’t make it?
When we are children we all want to become astronauts and physicists and the most well-known doctors that who will save the world. With childlike wonder, we are not afraid to confidently tell everyone our dreams as we gaze at the stars through our telescopes.
The fact is, we all have fears. But how do we overcome them? The answer is simple: courage. To have courage means to be brave, bold and daring. Courage is what enables us to acknowledge fear, to look into its eyes and tell it to take a hike.
Here are some simple ways to experience life the way you want by choosing courage over fear:
No More Excuses
Every time something goes wrong or does not go the way you planned it, the first thing we do is try to place blame on other people or circumstances. Stop being afraid of taking responsibility for your actions; the only way to learn from your mistakes and break the loop of repeating them is to take ownership!
Let Go of the Fear of Change
“Everything Flows,” wrote Simplicius, to sum up Heraclitus philosophy. Life is liquid; it changes and so must we. Change is not a bad thing! It allows for new experiences to be born, for situations to be improved and us to progress. So start taking risks, because good or bad, change is necessary in order for growth to exist. With every risk you take, you are one step closer to realizing your potential. Exercise your courage muscles!
Plan and Re-Establish
Like every human being, you have needs and desires. There are only so many hours in a day to work toward them. Be bold about what you want! Your needs are important and you shouldn’t settle for anything less. Your time is important. If something comes up in your schedule that you have been working toward, make time for it! Do not let it pass you by due to fear of losing time out of your day.
Time will pass regardless, so make your hours count. Do not allow yourself to simply age without evolving. It is understandable that growing older might be scary but be brave enough to look at it as a journey to wisdom. It is an exciting trip of re-inventing yourself!
Overcome and Conquer
Try to acknowledge your fears one by one. Once you accept the fact that you are afraid you can conquer them, only then can you make progress into the unknown. Why create bad scenarios before anything has even happened? Allow yourself to think positive! Empower yourself to overcome the obstacles you are setting in your own way.
Next time someone asks you to go on the Ferris wheel with them, instead of thinking you might fall, think of the view and simply get on the little cart. And next time your heart tells you it is ok to make that investment that you keep considering, do it with confidence, knowing that even if it falls through, you will be richer in experience and your courage will be stronger.
To reach the calm you so desire, you will have to brave the storms. The stormy weather resides within you; they are the disturbances in your heart and mind caused by fear and they are keeping you captive.
But all it takes, in the end, is to look inside yourself and find that inner strength and self-confidence that you need. As a result, you will feel incredible and the doors of possibility will swing wide open. So take a risk! Jump into the unknown and you and your life will be simply amazing!