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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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.
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.
Our brains are wired to:
However, researchers have found that bravery is a skill, and like all skills it can be learned, strengthened and mastered with repeated practice.
If we respond to every fear-inducing situation like we’re in mortal danger, we’re going to end up missing out on valuable opportunities to live fully, enjoy growth and new experiences. Ask yourself: “Am I avoiding pain, or seeking growth?”
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