The idea that everyone gets a blue ribbon because they showed up produces a mindset that doesn’t understand how to cope with risk. Success is handed to them without effort and without the appreciation for the uncertainty that accompanies risk and the pain required for achievement.
In other words, a wimpy mindset is the by-product of a “make everyone feel good” culture. Wimps don’t understand the difference between courage and not being a coward. Courage is a noble virtue that enables us to act, face risk, and feel fear. Cowardice is our unwillingness to suffer, even for something that matters to us.
There are several definitions of courage but most experts agree that it stems from the way we deal with our fears. Our success often depends upon our ability to face the fear that accompanies setbacks, adversity, and roadblocks. The key is to react to them in a positive way; if we do, we’re game-ready for whatever comes our way.
Somewhere between freaked out and checked out is the anxiety sweet spot—we are motivated enough to succeed and yet not so anxious that we falter.
Boldness comes from your head; courage comes from your heart. Boldness is a cerebral activity that recognizes opportunities, creates plans, and assesses the danger. Courage is a visceral reaction that comes from your gut. Courage doesn’t require a life or death situation to make itself known. It’s needed whenever you venture out of your comfort zone and take on something that challenges you.
If you wimp out and refuse to face your fear, or even acknowledge it, it’s impossible to grow as a human being because, in its simplest form, all behavior is the product of either fear or desire. If you desire something enough, you’ll take the risk. Fear is not something to be avoided. A strong mind recognizes fear for what it is—a sign you need to face the issue or obstacle in front of you.
1. Objectively survey your situation . Often you’ll need to make a decision even if you don’t have all the data. The probability that you’ll be able to collect enough information to be 100% certain of the outcome is very minimal, especially in fast-moving situations. Make small assessments on a continual basis so you can respond quickly and move with agility as your environment or circumstance continues to change and shift.
2. Keep the larger goal in focus . Always be ready to take the initiative once you’ve identified your goal. Actively meet the challenge in front of you. No one else is going to live your life for you—this is the one thing for which you are totally responsible. You can change your circumstances if you keep the larger goal in focus and never let it out of sight.
3. Balance hope and fear . In the long run, taking action is less painful than wallowing in fear. Building your courage is a smarter choice than running away from everything that scares you. Wimps are lazy people who are afraid to move out of their comfort zones; they’ve become a prisoner to their fears. Opportunity is often veiled by fear. Your greatest regrets in life will not be the mistakes you made; they will be the opportunities you missed.
4. Expose yourself to danger . The situations that demand your courage are blessings in disguise because they expose your fears. When you’re scared, you’re facing your fear. Remember this: whatever you fear, you must eventually face. The fear doesn’t need to weigh you down; instead, it can deepen your resolve. A strong mind is not slapped together on a shallow foundation. It needs rock—like a skyscraper, the higher you want to go, the deeper you must go.