What’s Killing Your Courage?

What’s Killing Your Courage?

Courageous living is powerful, rewarding and, in my humble opinion, the only way to really live life. But while the concept is simple, applying it is not always easy. Living courageously means learning to ignore the naysayers — including the one in the mirror.

The Enemies of Courage
The biggest enemies of living courageously are negative emotions and attitudes, such as cynicism, resignation and jealousy. People often become convinced — by things others have said or by their own unenlightened thoughts — that they can’t have what they want, that they are not capable or worthy of achieving their dreams. I have seen many people stop believing in their goals and dreaming about their desires and resign themselves to the idea that what they want to do, be or have is impossible. And so they stop trying to go for it.

Often the cynical conversations that lead to resignation stem from jealousy. We compare ourselves to others and come to the conclusion that they are better, smarter or more successful than us. We make undermining comments about others who we feel are more successful — businesswise, financially, family-wise, etc. We look for what’s wrong, broken or imperfect in these people’s lives as a way to feel better about ourselves. Having convinced ourselves we can’t have what we want in life, we attempt to convince others they can’t have it either.

Any conversation that makes us doubt our dreams, our self-worth and our ability to have the life we want is an enemy to courageous living.

Change the Dialogue
I once heard someone describe courageous living as “ordinary people living with an extraordinary commitment.” I resonate with both parts. With the “ordinary people” part — they have doubts, fears and undermining thoughts like everyone else — and with the “extraordinary commitment” part. When these internal undermining thoughts and conversations come up, instead of saying, “No, you’re right; I can’t do that,” courageous people ask, “Why not? Why can’t I fulfill my dreams and have what I want or do that?” These people refuse to accept defeat or to take no for an answer. They insist there’s a better way. And so they find one.

Join the Conversation
Please share what you think. What have you been telling yourself that you can’t do? What have you let others tell you is impossible? And how do you intend to prove them wrong?

Founder and President of Quantum Performance Inc., a management consulting firm specializing in generating total alignment and engagement in organizations.

His work has encompassed a broad range of industries including banking, telecommunications, manufacturing, entertainment, real estate, retail, startups and non-profits.

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