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How to Find and Practice Courage

https://hbr.org/2020/05/how-to-find-and-practice-courage

hbr.org

How to Find and Practice Courage
It’s a behavior you can learn.

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Type T individuals

Type T individuals

Nature definitely plays a role in determining who has courage. Research in neuroscience shows that some people have a thrill-seeking or “Type T” personality.

But even if some of us have a greater capacity for risk-taking (genetically speaking), it doesn’t mean that they will necessarily display more courage.

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Courage: The non-biological factors

Non-biological aspect such as our psychological makeup, values, and beliefs, along with conditioning by early role models, can compel us to act at risk to ourselves in the interest of protecting other people.

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From individual to context

Research links our capacity to act courageously (or the opposite) to measurable and controllable personal traits such as self-efficacy, self-esteem, the presence of anxiety, and the openness to experience. All these characteristics can be developed and shaped with practice and help.

Of course, the environment and context in which you are operating will also have a big influence.

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Learn courage through practice

  • Create plots: imagine both the worst that could happen if you take a certain action and what the outcome would be if you didn’t act.
  • Recognize the negativity bias: we are prone to attend more to negative than to positive outcomes.
  • Open up about your self-doubt and face your vulnerabilities.
  • Practice going out of your comfort zone.
  • Make sure you take the time to eat well, exercise and sleep. Fear is physically draining.

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Why we lack the courage to step up

Why we lack the courage to step up

Most of us think we will have the courage to confront someone to do the right thing, but we will often fail to step up when actually facing a situation.

  • One factor that prevents us f...

Clear vs ambiguous situations

Social psychologists have consistently found that people are more willing to take action in a clear emergency than in an ambiguous situation.

When facing an ambiguous situation, our natural tendency is to look to others for guidance. But if each person is looking to the people around them to act, no one wants to risk feeling foolish and embarrassed, and the problematic situation will be left unchallenged. However, we can sharpen specific skills for challenging bad behavior.

Express concern in a short, clear way

Find a quick and straightforward way of expressing concern or disapproval when you're dealing with bad behavior. This identifies that the action isn't a reasonable one for the person doing the negative thing and for the others observing it.

One study showed that the best confrontation was calm but direct: "Hey, that's not cool."

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Your lack of courage may cost you

Our brains are wired to:

  • Discount the cost of inaction, 
  • Overestimate the probability of things going wrong and 
  • Underestimate ourselves.

Three big obstacles

...  help people  get unstuck when building their bravery:

  1. Appreciating why stepping outside their comfort zone is so important to begin with (i.e. No clear or compelling why).
  2. Setting the intention to consciously and consistently practice acts of courage.
  3. Knowing which acts of courage to start with – after all, being brave isn’t always predictable or straight forward.

Bravery habits

  • Speaking Up: Every act of courage is about laying something you value on the line for something you value even more. Speaking bravely takes no less.
  • Making Big Requests: If you don’t ask, the answer will always be no.
  • Confronting Long Held Fears: Most people suffer more from their imagination than they ever do reality.

Personal Or Core Values

They are what you consider most important in your life, literally what you “value. ” They are broad concepts that can be applied across a wide range of circumstances, as opposed to narrow answers t...

The Benefits Of Having a Core Value

  • Having a core values list helps you make better decisions. The decisions you make come more quickly and efficiently than they would without it.
  • Being unconscious of your core values makes you likely to keep repeating the same mistakes.

Creating a List Of Personal Values

The core values that are most valuable to each of us come from our own personal experience, not from being taught.

As you put them into practice you’ll get better at internalizing these values and they’ll express themselves subconsciously with smaller decisions, as well.