We might associate courage with war and some extreme circumstances but actually, we need courage daily to counteract the power of fear. Fear is a very useful tool, but left unchecked can wreak havoc in our lives.
I would argue that the main thing we need to progress and push ourselves forward is courage. Courage to face the fears of unknown, unfamiliar, and potential failure which can bring humiliation.
Safety vs Fear
We are constantly in one of two states, a familiar and safe situation, or we are in a new, unfamiliar, scary situation that invokes fear. It is a constant shift between these two states, and we are biased towards avoiding fear and sticking to what is safe. That is the fundamental reason why change is hard. We need to face the new uncertain reality that we might face failure if we try to change something. Procrastination might feel like a lack of motivation, but dig deeper and you will find out it’s actually fear of not doing great work, fear of being seen as a failure, fear of what other people would say.
But to thrive, we need to push ourselves into new and unfamiliar situations, to the edge of our ability, and we might fail, and that is the scary part. But the upside is huge, we will grow and learn new things, we will change, and become better versions of ourselves. What we need is not more motivation, but the courage to face the fear of trying, of failing, and of what others might say
Balance of the extremes
But too much uncertainty may cause too much fear, which would require an enormous amount of courage to overcome. So there is a balance, like in all things, of pushing yourself just beyond your comfort zone and staying there. The idea is to be consistent with “slaying the dragon” aka conquering fear, over the long run. If we go all in next month, but can’t sustain that over the next decade, then what’s the point? We need consistency to take advantage of the compound effect. It takes years for small actions to compound into something amazing
A question to ask yourself
When was the last time I was uncomfortable? When was the last time I pushed myself beyond my comfort zone? If it is not recently then we are probably playing it too safe, we should push ourselves a bit more.