What would your life look like if you were braver? Would you perhaps have a different job that you would enjoy more? Would you perhaps be less frustrated because you would finally set limits for your stupid boss? Would you perhaps be less lonely because you could finally throw yourself confidently into the dating fray?
You probably already know pretty well what would make you happy. But how do you tackle all the difficult, uncomfortable, intimidating things that stand between you and your happiness? By being brave!
Together with The ChainlessLIFE, we have written this article to help you become more courageous.
What does it even mean to be brave?
Generally speaking, courage means daring to do something difficult. You are facing a challenge and you are not quite sure whether you are up to it. But you trust in your abilities. You will somehow find a way!
So that you can better observe in everyday life when you are already courageous or where you could perhaps become a bit more courageous, there are three concrete characteristics that make up courage.
1. leave your comfort zone
You spend most of your life in your comfort zone. It is safe here. You do the same things most of the time and therefore know that everything will go well. Because you already know how to do it all and have done it many times before. Unfortunately, you cannot grow in your comfort zone. Only when you leave your comfort zone, learning and discovering begins.
Unfortunately, many things can go wrong outside your comfort zone. It can be small things, like an unknown dish in a restaurant that you don’t like. But they can also be big problems, like a new job that turns out to be a bad decision.
So leaving your comfort zone doesn’t mean just experiencing new things. It will inevitably also sometimes bring difficulties with it. But exactly these hurdles will make you grow, because you will find a way to master them. And these experiences of success will give you renewed courage to deal with other stones that life puts in your path.
2. accept but overcome fears
If you are afraid to leave your comfort zone, that’s perfectly okay. In fact, it’s good because it shows that you really have the opportunity to grow! In fact, fear is a prerequisite for courage. After all, courage means overcoming your fears.
So first of all, don’t downplay or deny your fears. Because mostly you deny then also your desire for something. Maybe you pretend to consider world travel as a waste of money and that you stay at home just for the sake of the environment. But maybe you secretly would like to go on an adventure trip. However, you also have great respect for it, but don’t admit it?
Only when you accept your fear, you also accept that there is a desire stewing in you that wants to be lived. Admitting your fears also has another great advantage: Your fellow human beings will be able to help you! Maybe you will find someone who wants to travel with you or who can give you good tips.
3. be authentic
The supreme discipline of courage? Being yourself! What actually sounds totally simple is sometimes the most difficult of all exercises. Being authentic means having your own opinion and representing it. Not bowing to the criticism and pressure of others.
Authenticity is probably so difficult because we are afraid of being left alone. Of being laughed at or rejected for who we are. But again, have faith. Trust that you are good just the way you are. And that there will be at least a handful of people who see it the same way. That’s all you need!
7 effective exercises to become more courageous
Every day offers the opportunity to train your courage muscle. It’s not about crazy actions like skydiving or speeding down the highway. It’s about being brave. Proving courage is not synonymous with danger or taking risks. It’s the small challenges in everyday life that sometimes cost us the most courage. Here are a few suggestions on how you can become more courageous in small steps.
Practice 1: Take a small step out of your comfort zone
What does your comfort zone even look like? Think about what you always do in your life in the same way. Do you always buy the same food? Do you almost never meet new people? Do you stay at home a lot or only go to places you already know?
Now think about some attractive possibilities that are outside your comfort zone. These should be things you’ve wanted to try for a long time or things that have always seemed exciting to you, but you’ve just never dared to do.
Maybe you love watching movies, but rarely find a companion? How about watching the next blockbuster alone? Or you have exactly the opposite problem: Maybe you regularly go alone to sports, to the museum or to a weekly market and would be happy about company? Then ask your friends this time if anyone would like to come along. Or maybe look for like-minded people on the Internet?
Practice 2: Look your fellow man in the eye
As I said, it’s often the little things that require the most courage. Perhaps you are a little ashamed of the fact that you never look people in the eye, but always just next to them on the root of the nose or the eyebrows. But eyes have a mystical power that can often be intimidating.
Today, try to look every person you talk to in the eye for at least a few seconds. And tomorrow you will do a few seconds more…
Practice 3: Face Your (Irrational) Fear
Are you terrified of spiders or snakes? Or are you afraid of falling even in the high ropes course despite steel ropes? Overcoming irrational fears has the advantage that most likely nothing much will happen to you.
For example, ask a pet shop if they can put a harmless spider or snake on your hand. This will be an unbelievably crass emotional experience and at that moment you will probably find it very bad.
But once it is over, you will see that nothing has happened to you. And you have put your fear to flight with great courage! Such experiences of success can help you to increase your courage further and further.
Practice 4: Wear a “daring” garment
Do you like bright colors, but find them too daring? Or maybe you like the color pink as a man, but are worried that you will be ridiculed for it? Or would you like to wear unusual patterns?
Our clothes are often the first thing that other people notice about us and we are quickly approached about it. If you don’t like to be the center of attention or always fear that those around you might make fun of you, then a more eye-catching piece of clothing can take a lot of courage.
So take a look in your closet today: Which piece do you actually really like, but you haven’t worn it for ages because it’s too “daring“? Put it on and be happy how happy this outfit makes you. Can you now leave your house and face the world with confidence?
Practice 5: Speak your mind
When you talk to other people, how often do you say “yes” and “right”? Are you really always of the same opinion? Or have you just gratefully adopted someone else’s opinion?
Pay attention to whether you have actually already developed your own opinion on a topic. If so, then dare to express it. Just say “I see it differently” or “I honestly don’t think so“.
You can also turn the whole thing into a “game” by playing devil’s advocate. Just try to find counter-arguments on principle and critically analyze the other person’s opinion. Afterwards you can reveal that you have only played the Advocatus Diaboli – and then reveal your actual opinion.
Practice 6: Talk to a stranger
For many, the biggest step out of the comfort zone is to approach a stranger. That’s why it’s the perfect practice to become braver! In addition, you gain a great advantage. Because once you’re brave enough to approach strangers, you can constantly ask for help.
For example, by asking people for directions, the time, or the best restaurant nearby. Or you can compliment someone and they will reward you with a smile.
Practice 7: Ask for a raise
Have you been in the same job for a long time, in the same position with the same salary? Do you often feel frustrated because you do a good job but are not really appreciated? And actually you know how you could feel more appreciated again: With a little extra salary on top.
So think about arguments that you could present to your boss why you deserve more money. The more concretely you can prove your value, the better. Maybe you can also negotiate a variable performance bonus. If you perform well in the next year, you will receive a bonus.
If you want to play it safe, you can apply for a few new jobs first. When you get into interviews there, you can negotiate your desired salary. Then, when you talk to your current job, you can confidently say, “If you won’t pay me this money, others will.”
Final word: With courage comes self-confidence
Courage is something you have to practice. There will always be things in life that make you uncomfortable or that you are afraid of. So, unfortunately, you won’t wake up one day and finally be brave and do everything you’ve always been afraid of.
But you can become a little more courageous every day. Every day you can take a small step out of your comfort zone. And every day you can increase your comfort zone a little bit.
And courage does not come alone. Because as your courage grows, so does your self-confidence. You trust more and more that you will make it, even if you don’t know how yet. The more challenges you master, the more you will trust in the future that you will also manage the next challenge.