Self – discipline and courage

What is the relationship between self – discipline and courage, you will see in this text!

“Courage is not absence of fear; it is control of fear, mastery of fear.”—Mark Twain

You need large amounts of self-discipline to deal courageously with all the fear-inducing events of your life. This is probably why Churchill said, “Courage is rightly considered the foremost of the virtues, for upon it, all others depend”.

The fact are that everyone is afraid—and usually of many things. This is normal and natural. Often, fear is necessary to preserve life, prevent injury, and guard against financial mistakes.

So if everyone is afraid, what is the difference between the brave person and the coward? The only difference are that the brave person disciplines himself to confront, deal with, and act in spite of the fear. In contrast, the coward allows himself to be dominated and controlled by the fear. Someone once said that—with regard to warfare, although it applies to any situation—“The difference between the hero and the coward are that the hero sticks in their five minutes longer.”

Fears can be unlearned

Fortunately, all fears are learned; no one is born with fears. Fears can therefore be unlearned by practicing self-discipline repeatedly with regard to fear until it goes away.

The most common fears that we experience, which often sabotage all hope for success, are the fears of failure, poverty, and loss of money. These fears cause people to avoid risk of any kind and to reject opportunity when it is presented to them. They are so afraid of failure that they are almost paralyzed when it comes to taking any chances at all.

There are many other fears that interfere with our happiness. People fear the loss of love or the loss of their jobs and their financial security. People fear embarrassment or ridicule. People fear rejection and criticism of any kind. People fear the loss of respect or esteem of others. These and many other fears hold us back throughout life.

Fear paralyzes action. The most common reaction in a fear situation is the attitude of, “I can’t!” This is the fear of failure and loss that stops us from taking action. It is experienced physically, starting in the solar plexus. When people are really afraid, their mouth and throat go dry, their heart starts pounding. Sometimes they breathe shallowly and their stomach churns. Often they feel like getting up and running to the bathroom.

These are all physical manifestations of the inhibitive negative habit pattern, which we all experience from time to time. This fear paralyzes action. It often shuts down the brain and causes the individual to revert to the “fight – or – flight” reaction. Fear is a terrible emotion that undermines our happiness and can hold us back throughout our lives.

Aristotle described courage as the “Golden Mean” between the extremes of cowardice and impetuousness. He taught that “to develop a quality that you lack, act as if you already had that quality in every situation where it is called for.” In modern terms, however, we say, “Fake it until you make it.”

You can actually change your behavior by affirming, visualizing (Visualization improves motivation!), and acting as if you already have the quality you desire. By affirming, by repeating the words, “I can do it!” emphatically whenever you feel afraid for any reason, you can cancel the feeling of “I can’t.”

Every time you repeat the words “I can do it!” with conviction, you override your fear and increase your confidence. By repeating this affirmation over and over again, you can eventually build your courage and confidence to the point where you are unafraid.

Confront your fears. Your ability to confront, deal with, and act in spite of your fears is the key to happiness and success. One of the best exercises you can practice be to identify a person or situation in your life of which you are afraid and resolve to deal with that fear situation immediately. Do not allow it to make you unhappy for another minute. Resolve to confront the situation or person and put the fear behind you.

When you identify a fear and discipline yourself to move toward it, it grows smaller and more manageable. What’s more, as your fears grow smaller, your confidence grows. Soon, your fears lose their control over you.

In contrast, when you back away from a fear-inducing situation or person, your fear grows larger and larger. Soon it dominates your thinking and feeling, preoccupies you during the day, and often keeps you awake at night.

Leaders have two types of courage

In leadership, the most common quality are that of vision. Leaders have a clear vision of where they want to take their organizations. Leaders also have a clear vision of where they want to be some time in the future in their personal lives.

The second most common quality of leaders are that of courage. Leaders have the courage to do whatever is necessary to fulfill their vision. They lead from the front and dare to go forward.

There are two types of courage that you need:

First, you need the courage to launch, to take action, to take a leap of faith. You need the courage to go “all in” without any guarantee of success and with a high possibility of failure, at least in the short term. The major failing that holds most people back are that in spite of all their best intentions, they don’t have the courage to take the first step.

The second type of courage that you need is called “courageous patience.” This is the ability to hang in their and continue working and fighting after you have gone all in and before you have yet seen any results or rewards. Many people can muster up the courage to take action toward a new goal, but when they see no immediate result they quickly lose heart and pull back to safety and security. They don’t have staying power.

Deal with the fear directly

The only way to deal with a fear be to address it head – on. The natural tendency of many people be to deny that they have a problem caused by fear of some kind. They’re afraid of confronting it. In turn, it becomes a major source of stress, unhappiness, and psychosomatic illness.

Be willing to deal with the situation or person directly. As Shakespeare said, “Take arms against a sea of troubles, and in so doing, end them.”

The companion of fear is worry. Like twin sisters, fear and worry go around together. Mark Twain once wrote, “I have worried about a lot of things in life, and most of them never happened.”

It has been estimated that 99 percent of the things that you worry about never happen. And most of the things that do happen, happen so quickly that you didn’t have time to worry about them in the first place.

In the final analysis, the only real cure for fear or worry is disciplined, purposeful action in the direction of your goals. Get so busy working on your goals or the solutions to your problems that you have no time to be afraid or to worry about anything.

When you practice the self-discipline of courage and force yourself to face any fear-inducing situation in your life, your self-esteem goes up, your self-respect increases, and your sense of personal pride grows. You eventually reach the point in life where you are not afraid of anything.

Once you have developed the courage to step out in faith, you must then develop the self-discipline of persistence.



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