Consider that your fear isn’t legitimate - Deepstash

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Three Tricky Ways to Cultivate Courage

Consider that your fear isn’t legitimate

Consider that your fear isn’t legitimate

Legitimate fear tends to make us want to get the heck out of whatever situation we are in.

Not-helpful fear makes us hesitate rather than bolt.

We are afraid of looking stupid, and so we don’t ask a burning question. We fear failing, and so we don’t even try. 

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Make fear your friend

Your fears will never completely disappear, and you will never win the battle against them. 

When you can finally accept fears and invite them in, it makes courage more accessible.

Courage as a mindful response to fear

Fears can propel us to new heights if we choose to respond to them mindfully instead of reacting to them blindly. 

Doing this allows us to become bigger than our fears and act thoughtfully despite them. 

Commit to action

The first step is not actually taking action, it’s setting the intention to act. 

Announce that you are committed to taking action. Own it, and have others hold you accountable and inviting them to lift you in support. 

All fears are not created equal

Some are useful, and some are useless fears that you can't or shouldn't do anything about. 

They sap your strength for no reason, and you should put those fears in their place. Worrying about a comet striking Earth falls in this category.

Fear can harm you

In scuba diving, for instance, fear can cause you to breathe too fast, swim too hard, move too suddenly, fail to take note of your surroundings, or rise too quickly toward the surface.

Knowing that fear has the potential to harm you can help you set it aside. Fold up that fear, put it in a box, and promise you'll get back to it later at a less dangerous time.

Fear and chemicals

You may think it's your judgment deciding that something is dangerous and you should be afraid, but what actually happens is that fear chemicals are flooding into your brain.

Experiments have shown that fear can be induced artificially by injecting certain chemicals. Do the chemicals know what you should and shouldn't be afraid of? They don't. You do.

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.

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.

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.