Saturday, April 4, 2015

How I Grew Courage

Nobody knew that my palms were sweating, my heartbeat was thudding like jungle drums in my ears, and my face was blazing hot as I sat with a "rockstar-ready-to-perform" face at my first public speaking competition ...

The scary, rude-talking MVA testing agent did not know that I was ready to poop my pants due to an IBS episode triggering in my stomach as I sat driving my driving test right besides him with a "ridin'-down-the-highway-goin-to-the-show" face ...

I had to; literally, grow courage. And it was a tough cactus to propagate. It was mostly make-belief, according to me, that gradually became a real part of my personality. I am still not a brave person, but I like putting on a brave face and jumping into the unknown. Here are some of the tricks I used during the process, and I know there is still more that I can do.
Make Belief: When I think of all those times when I had to muster guts to face a challenge, I realize that I was hyperventilating, going weak at the knees, and going all red and hot in the ears. Nothing I did, or anyone said, could actually help me. Making belief that I was all good and ready to rock helped me pull off seriously challenging feats. That's how I grew courage. 
Self Belief: People around me were doing all sorts of things to overcome fears. A lot many were recommending techniques for me for various types of personal hesitations I had. Some were at the shrink's office trying to explain to them personal circumstances and elaborating on the reasoning for fear. I do not think they were wrong to take counseling help, but I didn't have time for it considering the speed at which life threw challenges at me. I was pretty disappointed to find that people did not really understand my circumstances. Their remedies were not ideal for my case. So, I believed in my own self and counted on my own abilities (no matter how crooked they were).
Just Jump: Taking the risk is the final resort most of the time. Often I just have to push myself and dive head-straight into the mess. Either it solves itself, or I learn something from the defeat and take a lesson. By jumping straight in I do not mean being irrational, I just mean ignoring the fear of the unknown. Of course I evaluate the pros and cons and the explicit reality, but everything else that puts me in doubt - I discard from thought, rely on God, and just dive right in.
Get Inspired: Being inspired to be brave is very, very effective as I have discovered. People did not understand my circumstances and pressured me to just go ahead despite my fears. Books, movies, inspirational figures, and religious guidance; however, is material that you choose yourself through selective attention and retention and apply it to your situation. I found myself absorbing attitudes, behaviors, and strategies of brave people from books, movies, and history. 
De-Stress: Fear puts the mind and body into panic mode. Talking about me, when I am putting on a brave face, diving into whatever is there, the level of stress in my mind and body is working harder than Titanic's propellers. I discovered that if I don't de-stress I lose out on the courageous component because I am not thinking straight. To think straight and maintain the bravado I have to de-stress.

Despite the bravado I put up, I am still a scared little whimpering mouse inside my heart. But my mind is the lion that keeps me going. So, until I ride a heavy bike in a leather jacket, I am working on it.

What's your courage rating? How do you put on a brave face? Hit me with comments, I hit back! Follow my social media, I follow back! 

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