Be courageous in 2015

Forbes have published a list of the 7 Cs to guide you in 2015:

  • Centre yourself
  • Be curious
  • Be courageous
  • Be candid
  • Be competitive
  • Instil character
  • Embrace change

All good advice, but for me ‘be courageous’ is the most interesting on the list. The article expands on the point thus:

3. Be Courageous. The definition of courageous tells us that it is a quality of mind and spirit that enables us to face difficulty, danger and pain without fear. Furthermore, it is to act in accordance with one’s beliefs especially in the face of criticism. Courageousness is a learned response and behavior that requires discipline.  Fear is a wicked demon and when we are gripped with fear we cannot act in the best interest of those we are responsible for, especially ourselves.

That sounds great. In the startup world dealing with difficulty is a pre-requisite for success, making courage a necessity. I also like the point that courage is a learned response that requires discipline. With work we can all have courage.

If you want to increase your courage it turns out there are three things you can do:

  • Put yourself in situations that demand courage – e.g. go to networking events and force yourself to talk to people, ask somebody out, etc. Courage is a muscle, and the more you use it the more you will have.
  • Fake it till you make it – tell yourself and others that you have courage and you will start to believe it, display it, and the muscle will grow stronger. Preparation is your friend here – plan difficult conversations, talk through things that scare you etc.
  • Meditate – practices learned from mindfulness and meditation help enormously when fear strikes. Rather than be overwhelmed mindfulness practitioners can identify and isolate the fear. As a bonus, brain scans of long time meditators show that the region controlling fear (the amygdala) has shrunk and the region which manages fear (the pre-frontal cortex) has grown thicker.

Also – “Act with courage” is fourth on the list of our values at Forward Partners.

These two articles provide interesting further reading.