What does it mean to live a courageous life?
It doesn’t mean you have to be brave and courageous all the time. It doesn’t mean you have to take crazy risks. It certainly doesn’t mean you have to be a hero that wears a badge of honor.
No, it can be much simpler than that.
I think it means you’re willing to face fear. You’re willing to be with it.
To be with fear, we need to fully understand it. Once we understand it, we can evolve our relationship with it. So let’s define fear.
Most of us associate fear with unpleasant emotion caused by a threat or danger. Or, something that scares us. Fear is a powerful emotion that comes in many forms:
- Fear of threat, safety and survival
- Fear of loss / death
- Fear of pain or suffering
We also have different types of fear – fight, freeze, faint or flee. All of these responses are defense mechanisms for us to resolve fear. And in some scenarios, we need to fight or flee to protect ourselves. For example, we need to fight if we’re being attacked or seriously threatened.
However, there is one other form of fear that consumes us. This form of fear is uncertainty. For example:
- Fear of not knowing what will happen
- Fear of not having all the answers
- Fear of not being accepted
We spend a lot of time and energy protecting ourselves from these non serious threats. In fact, I’d argue we spend more time with uncertainty than we do with other forms of fear.
Uncertainty has a strong grip on our mind. It aligns with our ego and exists to protect us. In other words, we’re safe and comfortable as long as we’re certain of things. It’s an easier way to live. That’s why most of us avoid uncertainty and the fear it evokes.
That’s fair but it comes with a consequence. I think it actually comes with a huge opportunity cost…
It hinders our growth.
Yep, that’s what we give up when we operate under fear of uncertainty. We lose our natural ability to grow.
Because embracing uncertainty is how we learn new things. It’s how we increase our capacity for understanding. It’s how we test our limits and expand our range.
This is why so many growth minded people seek to get out of their comfort zone. They know it will provide them with new experiences, relationships, and an overall understanding of things. When we increase our capacity for understanding we decrease our uncertainty.
We grow by facing the fear.
Let me give you some examples:
We might fear the unknown of doing therapy, psychedelics or coaching.
It’s that internal voice in our mind that says, “No, that’s not for me. I already have all the answers. I don’t need help.”
Then we embrace the uncertainty and experience life-changing insights.
We might fear creating a podcast to share our thoughts and internal wisdom.
It’s that same internal voice in our mind that says, “Nobody will care or listen. I’m not worthy or credible to start a podcast.”
Then we embrace the uncertainty and realize our shares helped someone.
We might fear the acceptance of going to a unique conference or retreat.
The voice comes in again and says things like, “I’m not qualified for that. Those people won’t be interested in me.”
Then we embrace the uncertainty and meet amazing people that warmly welcome us.
By facing our fear of uncertainty we push ourselves into new territory. We learn more about ourselves, our world, and our potential to grow.
We cultivate a more courageous life.
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Ali is a creator who's passionate about guiding people to their truth. That's a fancy way of saying he wants to help people realize their most authentic life. He's a father, husband, podcaster, blogger, technologist and many other things that inspire him to stay curious and learn. He's also a huge advocate for nature, hiking, adventure, testing physical limits and experiencing the natural world.