“Bran thought about it. ‘Can a man still be brave if he’s afraid?’
‘That is the only time a man can be brave,’ his father told him.”
-George R. R. Martin
Do you think you’re brave? Think about the last time you did something you thought was brave. How long ago was it? This week? This year? Years ago?
Here’s another one. When was the last time you were afraid? I’m not talking about the time you were sure there was a ghost haunting you. I’m talking about being afraid you made a wrong decision. Or the times you were afraid you didn’t have what it takes.
You may think you are not a brave person because you don’t do extraordinary things every day. Like rescuing children in Asian countries or drinking elephant poop water, so you don’t die in the desert like Bear Grylls.
Go ahead, click on that link and watch it. It’s exactly what you imagine it is. We’ll wait. In fact, never mind the video. Here’s a GIF in all its glory.
Being brave is not about staring death in the eye. Being brave is more about controlling your thoughts, than controlling the situation. You can be brave in the middle of a raging ocean and live to tell the story.
Conditioned by Circumstances
What’s great about bravery is we don’t have to feel brave to be brave. In fact, courage manifests at its best in the middle of difficult circumstances. The problem is we are used to being conditioned by circumstances. Circumstances don’t make you anxious. It’s your response to stressing circumstances that ruin your day.
Imagine a surgeon. The patient is laying on a table sliced open, guts and blood all over the place. The circumstances are definitely stressing. But the surgeon can’t be anxious. Instead, he responds with focus and control of emotions and thought. There cannot be a moment of doubt. The moment doubt creeps in, the patient is in danger.
Being brave is a state of mind. It’s being prepared to say ‘This circumstance will not condition me. I will be myself and do my best’.
Being Brave When You Are Afraid
Fear is the way your body warns you when you think you are in danger. This mechanism used to be very useful when we had to hunt for food and everything could kill us. But since we don’t have to fight lions anymore, our mind’s threshold for what makes it afraid has significantly lowered. It’s almost like we are misconfigured and we fear things that are not fearsome.
That’s why you have to help it by focusing on the right things.
Do you want to start a business? There’s no danger there. You risk losing money, but you could also make a lot of it. Do you want to be in a committed relationship? What’s the danger? Think of all the nice things you could do if you shared your life with someone else.
Focus on the wrong thing creates and empowers fear. If you focus on everything that could go wrong, you will be afraid. If you focus on the talents you don’t have, instead of the talents you have, you will be afraid.
Have you noticed how most of the things we are afraid of never happen? And if they do happen, everything ends up being fine?
Being bold is not exclusive to stressing situations. For some reason, we only recognize bravery when it involves huge acts of courage. Instead, we need to get used to recognizing ordinary everyday courage.
In fact, we’d venture to say most people are brave. When you take responsibility for your actions or provide for your family; you are brave. You are brave when you say no to things you don’t want to do. When you stand up for your co-worker or have the courage to love and forgive, you are brave.
You are Brave
The opposite of bravery is not cowardice but conformity. Every time you decide to do anything to improve your life or someone else’s life, you are brave. When you acknowledge you are wrong and recognize other people’s value, you are brave. It’s comfortable to keep things as they are. You don’t have to be brave for that.
- You are brave when you endure the pain of working out because you don’t like the way you look.
- You are brave when you turn off all your screens for an hour and read a book instead.
- You are brave when you change your spending habits to pay that debt you’ve carried for years.
- You are brave when you prepare and take action to start your own business.
- You are brave when you get out of a relationship that’s only hurting you.
Maybe the problem is we compare our work in progress to everybody else’s highlights. Overnight success takes years. Give yourself credit. Whenever you face a hard decision, admit it was a big deal. Even if it wasn’t, get used to celebrating all of your small victories. Everything counts. Toot your own horn all you want!
An Environment of Bravery
We can’t ignore the influence our community has on us. Remember, conformity is the opposite of bravery. If you are surrounded by people who conform to lives they don’t like, you need to find ways to feed your hunger to do more.
Join a mastermind, hire a coach to help you, go to church, sign up for a course, write; do whatever you need to do to keep the fire going.
Thoughts to Keep you Going
Finally, here are some thoughts on bravery that you can take to heart:
You can, you should, and if you’re brave enough to start, you will. -Stephen King
Don’t be afraid of your fears. They’re not there to scare you. They’re there to let you know that something is worth it.” -C. JoyBell C.
Scared is what you’re feeling. Brave is what you’re doing. -Emma Donoghue
Remember that failure is an event, not a person. –Unknown
Take a Bold Step
At Tiggley we like to help people see how brave they are. One of the ways we can help is by connecting you with a professional coach. Getting help to realize how brave you are is important, and we’d love to be a part of your journey. Contact us to find out what’s the best option for you.