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Courage: Master The Fear

Jan 15, 2008
"Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear-not absence of fear."--Mark Twain

When I looked up courage in the dictionary, I found an interesting definition: 'the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc. without fear or bravery.'

This struck me as interesting because it's the one time I'm not sure I would agree with the dictionary. To me, courage is doing something in spite of fear, not with an absence of fear. Bravery, for example is a way of acting in our lives in a way in such that we are doing what needs to be done even if we have fear.

Brave people don't lack fear, they act in spite of fear. I would define courage, then, as doing what needs to be done in spite of fear. That's absolute courage. And for it to be a courageous act, it seems like there has to be an element of fear involved. If it didn't have that element, why would we need to act courageously? If it didn't require great resolve, if it were common place, we wouldn't need to be brave.

Think of a time when you should have taken some sort of action but didn't. Why didn't you move forward? What prevented you from acting? Think about this.

Now think of another time when you needed to act but didn't. Or when you didn't act as completely as you should have. And remember why you didn't take action that time.

Now consider the similarities between these two events. You are going to find upon consideration that there is one common denominator, at least one, and maybe more, and that commonality is that there was probably some kind of fear associated with the incident.

So here's the question: What would have happened had you acted anyway? Go back to those two events that we just thought through. And ask yourself what would have happened had you acted anyway. Would it have worked out? What's the worst that would have happened had things not gone the way you hoped?

Let's go back to the first event that you thought of and let's just say that whatever this event was, you chose either not to act or not to act as fully as you might have.

Might you have had success? What's the absolute worst thing that would have happened had things not gone the way you hoped for? How bad could it have been? Would you have been thrown out? Would you have been cursed at? Would you have been told no?

Could you have lived with that outcome, that worst case scenario? I'd wager money that, yes, you could have lived with it.

Oscar Wilde once said, "One's real life is often the life that one does not lead." What is the real life that you're not living because of a lack of courage? Conversely, in what ways have you acted despite your fear that have changed your life for the better?
About the Author
Kenrick Cleveland teaches strategies to earn the business of wealthy prospects using persuasion. He runs public and private seminars and offers home study courses and coaching programs in persuasion strategies.
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