Courage is an emotion understanding it is crucial for achieving our full potential in life. Courage is one of those emotions that has a major impact on our daily life—what we do, how we do it, and why we don’t do certain things. Courage is a quality everybody wants, or wants more of.

Winston Churchill said, “Courage is rightly esteemed the first of human qualities because it is the quality that guarantees all others.”

It is therefore important for us to understand our courage, so that we can begin to manage and optimise it. This will assist us to reach our full potential as human beings and have a happy and balanced lifestyle.

What is courage?

“Courage is the ability to face danger, difficulty, uncertainty, or pain, without being overcome by fear or being deflected from a chosen course of action.”  Or, “the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, anger, pain, etc., without fear; bravery.”

Our courage is important as it directs our behaviour, actions, and the decisions we make.

  • It can drive us to persist, unrewarded, while facing hardship, pain, shame, intimidation, certain defeat, or even death.
  • It is an emotion, which takes control of our human behaviour, switching off reactions to fear, pain, shame and even bodily weariness.
  • It can enable excellence.
  • It grants us patience – the quiet voice, which says “I will try again tomorrow.”
  • Leaders in war and business have motived people to use their courage to do really big courageous things that seem impossible.

We find many courageous people in all spheres of life— real role models that we can follow.  Identify and learn from them.

It is important for us all to understand our own level of courage or lack of it, so that we can actively develop and optimise it.

During this self-analysis it is important to realise and identify the following in yourself:

  • For some people there is the act of pretending they are courageous, when in fact they don’t have the level of courage they claim to have. Their “courage” is thus a false mask for their lack of self-esteem. This is a dangerous tactic. You are not being true to yourself; others will realise it over time, and you will be penalised in your work or social environment. Not only do you mislead yourself, but you deny who and what you really are. So never pretend to be more courageous than you really are. This process of fooling yourself will prevent you from reaching your full potential as a human being.

 

  • Another example of lack of courage that we often see in society is when people don’t have the courage to take responsibility for their own actions, lack of actions, or mistakes they have made. They blame others— the government, the economy, their partners, family or the environment. If you have an attitude of blaming others instead of having the courage to take responsibility for your own life and success, you will never succeed in life.

 

  • Some research has proved that lack of courage is one of the main reasons  people don’t adapt to  changing situations, learn new skills, develop their talents, change old bad habits, explore new ideas or business opportunities.

 

This implies that we need to change or adapt to new situations, or step into unknown environments. This needs courage. A lack of courage prevents people from changing or adapting and is a serious disadvantage that needs attention.
People who lack courage never develop their full potential in life and fail to have a happy, successful and balanced lifestyle

 

Luckily courage is like a muscle – it needs to be used and developed, or it will become a worthless burden.  But, if understood and practised, courage can be our biggest asset and we can use it to our benefit. Our challenge is to realise the importance of it and to actively develop it.

 

A few practical steps to develop your courage.

  • Have a total understanding of the importance of courage in your life.
  • Understand your own level or shortcomings of courage. Answer questions like:
    • Am I true to myself? Do I pretend to have the courage that I don’t have?
    • Am I taking responsibility for my actions/decisions or lack thereof?
    • What new or unknown situations, people, or changes am I avoiding? Do I tend not to take action, or make a decision, because I have to step into an unknown situation?
  • Practice courage often by:
    • Doing new things regularly.
    • Always be true and honest to yourself.
    • Take full responsibility for everything you do, or do not do.
    • Make a list of the things that scare you. Tackle them one by one.
  • Keep a score card and evaluate your progress daily on the courageous things you have done. Remember, even small things mean progress.
  • Celebrate your progress!!

 

Never let your lack of courage, or lack of understanding the true impact courage has on your success in life prevent you from achieving your full potential as a human being.

 

We are in control of our own courage. Develop it – optimise it.