You don’t need to attempt extraordinary feats to cultivate world class courage. All you have to do is to get 1% outside of your comfort zone every day. If you improve your courage 1% every day, you will improve your courage 38 times in a single year. That is not 38%, but 3778% in a single year.
Make a List
Make a list of all the actions that you would take if you had all the courage in the world. When making this list, include only the actions that are beneficial for you and others and not harmful for anyone involved. Making a public speech in front of thousand people is beneficial and not harmful, unless you express hate. Driving maximum speed through a city isn’t beneficial and likely disastrous.
Break Down to Pieces
Pick one of the actions and break it down to smaller pieces. If your goal is to develop the courage to speak in public, determine your comfort zone first. Let’s say you’re comfortable speaking in front of ten people. Find a speaking opportunity that involves an audience that is slightly greater than that, for example 12 people. Find and create speaking opportunities that are slightly greater than the previous one, 14, 17, 20, 25, 30 people and so on. Soon, you will be comfortable speaking in front of hundreds of people. The trick is to increase the intensity 1% every time.
Eliminate Your Excuses
Taking an action that is outside of your comfort zone every day might be overwhelming for you. You might come up with all kinds of excuses not to take action every day. The best way to overcome your excuses is the following question.
“Do I have the physical energy to do it now?”
Most of the time, the answer to this question is a yes. The only exceptions are when you have drained yourself completely or when you are deluding yourself. If you are not sure about your answer, you can ask the following follow-up question.
“Would I do it, if someone put a gun to my head?”
The question above eliminates all the excuses completely. It leaves you with the cold hard truth of doing it or not doing it. That’s a choice of yours. The power is with you. It’s not with the conditions outside of your control.
If you eliminate all of your excuses, but still don’t get yourself to act, then it’s time to motivate yourself. The best way to do that is to associate the action with pleasure and rewards and inaction with pain and punishment. You have to associate the inaction with such a great pain that the inaction will elicit far more fear than the action itself. Moreover, promise yourself rewards that will excite you about the action you set to take.
Eliminate Limiting Beliefs
When preparing for a certain action, you might feel hesitancy. If that’s the case, it pays off to take a moment to reflect upon what is holding you back. Come up with a few of the beliefs that hold you back from taking action now. Question each belief for validity. Is this belief based on facts or fiction? If it is not based on facts, if it cannot be proven scientifically, what would be its opposite? What would be a belief that would empower you? Now, it’s up to you to let go of the old limiting belief and adopt the new empowering belief.
You can cultivate world class courage by getting 1% out of your comfort zone every day. You can do that by making a list of out of the comfort zone activities. Instead of attempting a fully outside of comfort zone activity, attempt a slightly outside of comfort zone version of it. Increase the intensity every day. If you come up with excuses, feel a lack of motivation, or you are held back by limiting beliefs, you can work on them with specific exercises for each. You can find greater details about each exercise in their respective links.
Software developer with a Ph.D. and 15 years of experience. I write daily on personal development and life lessons. Sign up to my email newsletter to receive a weekly overview of my latest content on personal development and life lessons.