By Brian Tracy
There are several forms of courage that you can develop with practice. These forms of courage will help you to achieve the great success that is possible for you. They are all learnable with practice.
The first form of courage is the courage to dream big dreams and to set big goals. This is where most people are stopped. The very idea of setting big, challenging, exciting, worthwhile goals is so overwhelming that they quit before they even begin. But this is not for you. Sit down, write out your goals as if anything were possible for you, and never be afraid to dream big dreams.
The second type of courage is the courage to make a total commitment, throwing yourself wholeheartedly into whatever it is you decide to do. Al successful people of my experience are people who are living fully engaged. They are fully involved in their lives and in their goals. They don’t do things by half measures. They may have no guarantees, but they are not afraid to put their whole hearts into their activities. If they pail, they fail by trying greatly, not by playing it safe, wishing and hoping that everything will work out all right.
The third type of courage you need is the courage to move out of your comfort zone. It is the courage to move into your zone of discomfort, where you feel awkward, clumsy, and alone. The comfort zone is one of the greatest enemies of human potential. When people get into a comfort zone, they strive to stay in that comfort zone. Often their whole lives pass them by while they are furnishing and reinforcing their little rut of medium performance.
You need the courage to continually move yourself in the direction of your biggest goals and ambitions. You need to be willing to face discomfort in order for you to grow.
You need the courage to launch in faith with no guarantees of success. Someone once wrote, “If every obstacle must first be overcome, nothing will ever get done.”
Courageous people are those who have a dream and set a goal, make a plan and take the first step, with no assurances and no guarantees that their efforts will result in success. However, if you look upon every step forward as a learning experience and every setback as a valuable lesson that has been sent to you to make you stronger and better, you will not be afraid to launch in faith into the unknown.
You need the courage to risk failure. You need the courage to endure constant setbacks, disappointments, and temporary defeats. You need to learn to deal with failure by realizing that it is an indispensible prerequisite for success. You need the courage to treat failure as an opportunity to more intelligently begin again. You need to overcome the fear of failure by doing the things you fear over and over again, and then by resolving to bounce rather than break when things don’t work out for you.
You need the courage to turn toward danger continuously. Identify all the fear situations in your life that cause you stress or anxiety today. Decide what the worst possible outcome of each of these situations might be. Resolve to accept the worst, should it occur. And then take action to resolve each of those situations. Refuse to allow a fear situation to remain in your life, dominating your thinking and emotions and holding you back.
You need the courage to be willing to make mistakes and learn from them. All peak performers continually make decisions, make mistakes, learn from them, self-correct, and carry on.
Successful people are not those who necessarily make the right decisions all the time, but they make their decisions right. If they make a mistake, they accept it, learn as much as possible from it, failing and making mistakes. The more you fail and the more mistakes you make, the smarter you become and the more likely it is that you will eventually achieve your goals.
You need the courage to accept complete responsibility for your life, which means to take ownership for results. You need the courage to refuse to make excuses or to defend yourself. You need the courage to say, over and over again, “I am responsible!”
When something goes wrong, you focus on the solution rather than the problem. You ask, “What do we do from here? What’s the next step? What is the solution?”
You then pick yourself up and carry on, extracting the wheat from the situation and throwing away the chaff.
The final courage you need is the courage to persist longer than anyone else. Persistence is the quality that will ultimately guarantee your success. Your willingness to persist in the face of every adversity can be your greatest asset. It can be the one factor that guarantees your success.
If you refuse to quit, you must ultimately succeed. Just as in baseball, you won’t ultimately hit a home run unless you keep on swinging. In 30 years of studying successful people, I have discovered one fact over and over. No one was ever defeated until they accepted defeat as a reality. No one can ever defeat you but yourself.