Four Wonderful and Easy Ways to Build Your Courage

When Tony Cavallo fell off the jacks that held the Chevrolet Impala he was fixing, his grandmother lifted it high enough for two neighbors to rescue him.Lady lifts car

His grandmother was 58-years old!

As Timothy Boyle watched in horror, the Chevrolet Camaro in front of him ran into cyclist Kyle Holtrus, pinning him under its frame. Tim sprung from his car, and lifted the 3500 pound car so that Kyle could be pulled to safety.

Timothy Boyle and Angela Cavallo never planned to be superhuman.

But when they were confronted with saving a life…

  • Their adrenal glands dumped hormones into their blood streams
  • Their blood pressures surged
  • Their hearts raced
  • And enough oxygen was delivered to their muscle to lift 1,000’s of pounds worth of automobile.

But more than that, it all came down to ignoring the pain…and the fear.

And that is possible in ALL of us.

But can we really ignore the pain?

Absolutely! Most scholars agree that summoning our body’s power is related to CHOOSING TO ignore the pain. When weight lifters strain to complete an exercise, it’s hard to imagine how their muscles would have the capacity to work half again harder than they already are, for what they feel is screaming agony.

But under intense pressure—whether it’s lifting a dumbbell or rescuing a kid—you just won’t feel that pain. The body pulls out all the stops and lets you turn up the dial up to “11”. You don’t feel the ache of your muscles. You don’t feel the pain.

You just do what needs to be done.

This is where the word “courage” comes into the picture.  Courage is not just for heroes.

In fact, think of this!

ALL of us have had to be courageous…ALL OF US! 

And courage involves ignoring our fear, which is an emotion that all of us have. In fact, fear is at the crux of so many “stuck” moments. We’re afraid of being the bad guy. Of getting fired. Of being ridiculed. So instead of taking a chance, we passively limit our lives. We might complain instead of solve. Let others decide our fate. Avoid new experiences. Give up our dreams.

So here are four wonderful ways to overcome that fear, as suggested by Hank Peacock in his blog.

1.  You’re not alone….everyone is afraid of something.

I am the only person in my family who loves snakes. However, put a bee in my car, and I’ll immediately screech to a halt, jump from the car, open all four doors, and stand 20 feet from the car until the bee has left.

We all fear something, and understanding this helps you feel less isolated in your fear.  You’re not alone, and the fact that you are fearful in some area doesn’t make you a weak person.

Try this: Find someone (or a group) to talk about your fears–you may find that someone else has faced the same fears as you, and has found a way through them that can help you.

2. Be careful how you talk to yourself about what you fear.
Remember this…and I always say this to everyone I meet…your brain believes what you tell it…without question.

Negative Self Talk

And why is this so important to understand?Because we are often fearful of what we imagine might happen. It’s all too easy to convince yourself that your reasons for being afraid are all valid. Mark Twain once said, “My life has been filled with calamities, some of which actually happened!” In fact, researchers at the University of Cincinnati found that eighty-five percent of what we worry about never happens, and that most of us handle the remaining fifteen percent in ways that surprise us with the ability to turn the situations around. .

 What do you have to lose if you take the risk?

Most of us fear the unknown. We don’t know what might happen when you turn that corner, when you make that phone call for the first time, or how the boss might react if you really speak your mind. What do you really have to lose if you take the risk?

Try this: Make a list of all the possible outcomes. Seeing it all on paper may help you see how irrational some of your fears really are. Don’t forget to include in your list the possibility that things might turn out for the better.

3. Approach your fears as opportunities for growth.
None of us like being afraid! But if you look beyond the fear to the benefits of overcoming the fear, you may see a world that might just be worth taking some risk to live in.

Holding  Leaf

And when see the advantages to moving past your fear, you will see your fear as an opportunity for growth.  The truth is, our minds are just like our muscles; both must be stretched if they’re going to grow!

Try this! Take a few minutes and make a list of the pros and cons of dealing with the thing that you’re afraid of:

  • What are the potential benefits of overcoming that fear?
  • How might your life be different if you weren’t afraid of it?
  • What would you be free to do that you aren’t free to do now because of your fear?
  • What do you have to lose by giving up that fear?

 Failure isn’t necessarily the end of the world.
All of us fear failure.  However…when you think about it…have you learned more from your failures…or your successes? Don’t get me wrong! Failure can be devastating, or even life-threatening, but most of the time it isn’t.  Yet the fear of failure short-circuits ideas, stymies careers and deprives us of experiences and opportunities that could enrich our lives.

When Thomas Edison was asked how it felt to fail 999 times looking for that filament of a light bulb, he responded, “I did NOT fail 999 times! I simply found 999 ways that didn’t work!’

Thomas Edison

One could argue that all but one of Edison’s attempts to find that filament was a failure.  But Edison considered each failed filament to be an important lesson–he had learned yet another material that would not work.

But perhaps more importantly, he didn’t let the road blocks that others had met deter him.

I’ll never forget the day that our oldest daughter took her first step. Mary and I were there!  She had been walking back and forth next to the couch, and then one morning, on a Saturday, she turned and looked at us with that glorious smile, hesitated, took her first step, and FELL FLAT ON HER FACE!


With little tears in her eyes, she then looked up at us, and said, “Well mom…dad. I guess I was never meant for walking!”

Did she really say that? Of course she didn’t! She got up, took two steps, and then she fell…three steps and then she fell…four steps…and then she fell. She’s now 39 years old now. Is she still falling? Yes…because she is still walking. And falling is a part of walking!

So our failures can be dead-ends or learning experiences that can lead us to try other routes to success, depending on how we treat them.  “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.”  That’s a very old saying, but it’s great advice.

Try this:  if you’re afraid to fail at something, make yourself a list of the things you can try if you do fail at first.  It never hurts to plan ahead.  (They put redundant systems on the Space Shuttle for this very reason.)


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