Courage: a plea for more courage

Only courage! Who dares? Who has so much courage ? An old word that stands for more than courage . Such people are not only willing to take risks, make sacrifices - they are determined to. However, the much-acclaimed and admired character trait that enables us to overcome resistance and danger, or to engage in a cause or a fellow human being, is rare. To be sure , the appeal for more courage and determination sounds good, for rolled-up sleeves, for visions and for departure. However, the implementation also requires independence in thinking, awareness of values ​​and emotional maturity and strength. But how can more courage be won?

Courage Definition: Courage is a luxury item
Proverbs CourageAnyone who wants to move things, to grow beyond oneself and ascend, must above all act courageously .

Originally, the term "courage" comes from the Indo-European "mo" (Germanic moda ), which means as much effort, strong will, striving hard for something. In the High Middle Ages, the courage was celebrated in epic poetry and in minstrelsy as nobility and virtue, which characterized above all knights. They were "without fear and blame".

However, one must clear up with a mistake: Even if it seems that the brave is fearless - he knows the fear and acute feelings of anxiety quite. Courage and fear are by no means mutually exclusive. Courage, however, helps to overcome fear and hesitation, to show fearlessness and thus to gain (again) freedom of action .

Or as Francois Mitterand once put it:

Courage does not mean not to be afraid, but to overcome this fear.

The psychologist and pedagogue Siegbert A. Warwitz found a nice comparison by contrasting the braking factor fear with the driving force .

Nowadays courage is sometimes measured in good portions - and there are several kinds of daring or bravery , as it is also called:

The courage to truth
The courage of despair
The courage to transparency
The courage to tolerance
The courage to no
The courage against power
Moreover, there is the generosity, gentleness, patience, arrogance, melancholy, sincerity, fickleness, arrogance or fighting courage - and of course the moral courage ...

"Success depends on the mute," recognized Theodor Fontane. Only Courage enables integrity, sincerity, creativity and trust . Without courage there would be no own opinion , no unconventional decisions, no breaking out of routine, no pioneering spirit , no growth.

Courage is the engine of all economic activity . And in everyday job life indispensable:

Being brave can mean getting up and telling the truth when needed.
But it also means enduring the truth when it gets uncomfortable and admitting your own mistakes.
It can mean entrusting responsibility to its employees .
Or to put an end to it , when it's time to do so and maybe even stand up for his own conviction - regardless of career.
How can you be so brave? some ask. At the same time, it is a truism that, for example, managing means nothing other than making decisions whose outcome is uncertain , because in our complex world too many variables reduce almost every calculus to a single bet. The brave man decides anyway. However, by no means blindly, but his key feature is "overcoming these risks," wrote Jean Paul.

Courage is the combination of intellect, knowledge and optimism:

Anyone who becomes aware of the risk is brave, reflects and calculates - but then acts consistently. Unfortunately, courage is often like a luxury : everyone admires it, but hardly anyone can afford it.

One in four would found, but does not have the courage to do so
Courage to reasonBeing your own boss? 60 percent of Germans dream of it, so the result of a survey, as there are hundreds of them. The main incentives are usually: the higher income (52 percent), independence (49 percent) and self-realization (42 percent). The numbers may vary here and there, but one thing never: Respondents are virtually never lacking in ideas for this step, but above all in their courage: 58 percent cite the greatest obstacle to self-employment as the fear of failure. The lack of a sparking business idea, however, only 37 percent.

Why do some lose their courage?
An important feature of courage is to look optimistically into the future : The brave believes in his success, in his - as it is called in psychology - coping skills .

But at the same time, this is why some lose their courage: they have had different experiences in the past : despite great effort, determination and courage, things have changed and they have failed. Not just once, but two, three or many times.

Such cross and setbacks not only rob (emotional) power. They also wear down and, over time, become more discouraging: why be brave, when there's always a bloody nose for it?

Such thoughts are humanely understandable. But they are also deceptive. Because most of them pay attention to those times when their courage did not lead to the desired result. But possibly to another, which could turn out to be the better in retrospect . Or they forget all the times when courage helped them achieve their goals.

Either way, those affected are dependent on past crises, but not on future opportunities. In short: the view backwards blocks the view to the future. But that is just an important trait for more courage.

Brave people are emotionally and mentally independent
No question, with us all the courage sinks now and again, some even he leaves completely - up to the lack of courage . But this is initially only a feeling, a snapshot, but not a fate.

The reason for the lack of guts and guts is usually the risk that goes with it, the uncertainty and ultimately the decision-making poverty .

Whether someone bravely advances or waits anxiously, is partly genetically determined. Certain character traits, psychologists have explored, encourage courage . This includes:

Contact joy and
emotional stability.

The compatibility is one of the so-called Big Five , the five major personality traits, however, is hardly pronounced for courageous people.

You could also say that what others think about you is a shame. That's why they are emotionally and spiritually independent and free for the new.

Discouraged: The Ostrich effect
Discouraged: the Ostrich effectThe renowned behavioral economist George Loewenstein of Carnegie Mellon University was the first to describe the behavior of investors who would rather stick their heads in the sand when the stock market gets bearish : wait, sit out and hope, even though the stock market is in rapid low-flying this strategy is also known as ostrich effect or ostrich policy ( Ostrich is the English word for ostrich).

The fatal thing about this effect, however, is that once we are in this state of shock, we become resistant to any new information, warnings or advice. Above all, we become passive like the rabbit in front of the snake.

The solution to this, however, is as trivial as it is unbelievably difficult to put into practice: not to close your eyes, but to close your eyes; pronounce instead of hushing; act instead of wait; grab the bull by the horns instead of throwing red towels. Realistically, there are only two things that prevent us: our pride and lack of courage.

Test of courage: is it possible to learn courage?
To a degree: yes. Courage can be learned , if you want it. Psychologists like to compare courage with a muscle: the more you train it, the stronger it becomes. Bravery is not so bad that it is less difficult.

There is a nice historical anecdote about this:

Ramses II or Ramses the Great (1298-1213 BC) ruled Egypt for 66 years and was one of his most important rulers. His greatest adversary at the time was the Hittite king Muwatalli, who plotted against him.

In the spring of his 5th year of rule, Ramses therefore moved with his army towards Asia to the fortress Kadesh on the river Orontes. This is today close to the Syrian-Lebanese border. It was the largest army that Egypt had seen at the time: over 20,000 men, consisting of foot soldiers and chariots. But the Hittites outnumbered them. King Muwatalli's army offered around 37,000 soldiers and another 2,500 chariots. The inexperienced Ramses also made a tactical mistake: Because he wanted to destroy the Hittite army in a kind of pincer movement, he had his divisions deployed too far from each other. Their distance was partly a full day's march.

At first, happiness seemed to him. The Egyptians attacked two Bedouins who told them that the Hittites were still a long way from Kadesh. Ramses did not wait for his remaining army, and he set up camp with the first division before Kadesh, where he thought himself perfectly safe. Shortly thereafter, the Egyptians seized two Hittite spies, which also made them talk. Lo and behold, the two Bedouins turned out to be spies. Muwatalli had tricked Ramses into a trap. His forces were already camped east of Kadesh in the immediate vicinity of the Egyptians and now launched a lightning strike against Ramses' second division, which they completely destroyed in a short time.

There was panic among the Egyptians when the Hittites attacked Ramses. His troops were wiped out more and more, until the Pharaoh had only two alternatives left: flight - or flight forwards.

He opted for the latter: Ramses let his chariot tense and lunged at breakneck speed, followed by his bodyguard. Although his position seemed hopeless, he fought wildly through the opposing ranks, shooting arrow after arrow and reaching down one Hittite after another. According to legend, he rode so six attacks in a row. Only then did his remaining divisions appear on the horizon, rolling their way to the encircled Ramses, and setting down their opponents.

Muwatalli, completely surprised by this turn, fled towards Orontes, the Egyptians always on the neck. Many Hittites drowned in flight. And Ramses was celebrated as a victorious general. At least that's what ancient Egyptian propaganda tells us. In fact, both sides had suffered heavy losses, which is why a peace pact was later closed.

Either way, the Battle of Kadesh shows a basic rule of success: boldness wins . Because it triggers several reactions:

A bold action, no matter how hopeless the situation, gives the brave great attention and authority . Most people are anxious, shying away from the danger and consequences of their decisions. Therefore, they hesitate, prefer to think ahead instead of acting, thus only widening the gap between hope and fulfillment. On the other hand, determination builds bridges, removes obstacles.
Courage gives even more overview because it reduces the options. Where many problems lurked before, there is now only one goal left.
Secretly everyone admires such brave people. Because they stand out from the hesitant crowd. Daring people , if they are not foolhardy , like to follow. Their Courage encourages friends - and intimidates enemies, by transferring their own fear to the opponents, because they hardly expect bravery .

Ultimately, however, courage is above all a matter of will: one must want to be courageous.

On the other hand, anyone who is constantly afraid of conflicts, does not make courageous demands, sells not only under value. Who shuns any risk , destroys all his chances. The ex-Minister Heinz Riesenhuber comes from the beautiful sentence:

Whoever sets up his life so that he can never fall on his nose, can only crawl on his stomach.

You better stand upright and have calm courage . To win without risk means to win ingloriously.

Of course, the same applies here: The dose makes the poison. Overconfidence can hurt, and being cocky rarely does it well. Also, by the way, a finding from the (real) Bible: pride comes before the case.

Become more courageous: How does it work?
Courage: Trust yourself ABC
Everything has its price . Also, the fear, hesitation and doubt. Many people prefer looking for excuses and justifications to avoid taking the necessary step (immediately). The advanced reasons often sound smart and plausible. But they cost.

Every time we delay something, it does not only increase our guilty conscience and stress . We also feed our self-doubts and fears. Until they block us completely or become veritable phobias .

Having courage is above all an attitude - a matter of attitude. So instead of picturing our fantasies and imagining the worst that could happen, the spear can also be turned around: we can become bolder by giving ourselves courage, reflecting our decision (and its consequences) more realistically, and simply allowing mistakes make or even fail. In the end, we gain even more self-confidence .

Further steps to gain courage are ...

Overcome inhibition thresholds
Inhibition thresholds are blockages that arise from experience, habits and high expectations. The first step will be difficult for you, it probably requires the most willpower in your path to become more courageous: focus only on your goal to which the step should lead - not on the fear of the consequences. Thus the inhibition thresholds sink.

Mistrust distrust
Mistrust of our abilities develops from situations in which our trust may have been disappointed, by other people or by themselves. It is a protective shield that serves to keep others from getting too close to themselves. Motto: Who has no expectations or always starts from the worst, can not be disappointed. You should still learn to trust yourself more - especially your own abilities . Mistrust your distrust, it is usually unfounded. This also reduces the fear of the consequences, and you can move more courageously towards your goal.

Become more independent
Without the fear of being out of line, the existence of a social group would probably be unthinkable. We want to feel a sense of belonging - and therefore accepted by others. The flip side of the coin is: We depend on the opinion of others . If this dependence gets out of hand, it blocks our courage. Every decision, every action is first guided by a kind of social filter: then how will the others think of me? But the truth is: you can never make everyone right anyway. Therefore, to be brave, you should learn and accept that there are always people who anger you and may turn away from you. Incidentally, this also means being able to say no .

Do mental hygiene
Our thoughts massively determine our actions. For example, do you like to talk about "mega-problems", "catastrophic numbers", "terrible disasters"? Not? Well. Because disaster speakers are also disaster thinkers . Such an exaggerated XXL language certainly creates the feeling of powerlessness. Marcus Aurelius, Roman emperor and philosopher, formulated the principle aptly: The happiness of life depends on the nature of your thoughts . Our life is the product of our thoughts .

Take off perfectionism
Perfectionism is usually hidden behind the need for applause, recognition and protection from cursing and shame - it is an attempt to give your best, which is motivated by external circumstances. Do not think in such black and white categories - just because something is not perfect, it does not have to be a total failure. Rather, it is just the many mistakes that characterize courageous people. Because they dare and do more, you can do more. Courage comes even through the ability to learn from these mistakes.

Start small
Psychologists like to compare the courage with a muscle: the more you train it, the stronger it becomes. Do you have a job interview or a presentation and do you not speak in front of a large audience so often? Then start small . Practice at home, let your friends and family members listen, get used to the sound of your voice, then to the audience. This will make you safer and the fear of failure will decrease.

Set deadlines
Use the 72-Hour Rule : Anything you go for will have to start in the next 72 hours, otherwise the likelihood of you taking this step will drop to one percent. Make an appointment with the dentist or the boss. If you want to have a serious conversation with a friend or family member, make a meeting and go there as well - preferably as soon as possible, so that you do not have to think about it for long and your determination does not fade.

Get support
Talking helps . Are you aware of the risks and consequences, but still have no courage to take the first step, talk to someone about it. Explain your reasons, pronounce your pros and cons arguments aloud. Even if there is a risk that the interlocutor does not agree with you, expressing your motivation will bring it to life. And you more courageous.

For executives: Encourage your environment - today!
For executives: Encourage your environment - today!Empower employees to succeed ? To do so, you have to motivate, guide, value and give them continuous feedback - a cocktail that is not easy to mix. Career Bible shows you 13 ways you can encourage your team - every day, preferably today:

Provide information
Prepare briefings for the employees well. Professionally organize kick-off meetings and debriefings. Provide information on the intranet . Always with the goal of giving everyone the data and facts they need. The more information, the greater the chance to make the project a success.

Delegate opportunities
Do not delegate tasks, but opportunities . That's a big difference. Make clear what a successful project completion would mean for the team. For each individual. Which possibilities it could open.

Awaken entrepreneurial spirit
Not like a general dictate the direction, but make the staff commander. To entrepreneurs in the spirit , who think along and not only execute instructions. If you were me, what would you do? If you were an entrepreneur, what would you do now - and how?

Let babysitting be
Creating spaces in which the team can move freely, make decisions independently - and also make mistakes. Do not micromanage . Do not monitor every step. A babysitting Big Brother tightens.

Offer support
To offer yourself as a conversation partner. No one likes the team leader sitting on his own shoulder. But the feeling that he would be there in case of doubt, if you need him, you do not want to miss it.

Accept limits
Show endless possibilities - yes, definitely. Assuming unlimited abilities - no. Employees do not uproot superman. Accept inadequacies . Put a task in the hands of an employee - knowing his shortcomings - and do it without ifs and buts with him.

ask questions
Ask staff for advice. Ask for input. Ask for anything. Because it signals that their opinion is heard and has relevance. And to get the employees themselves to the answers. Questions are sometimes more illuminating than answers . And animate to independent thinking .

Sharing power
Delegate, provide information, leave space - all useless, if the employee does not have the authority to use them. Sharing power, granting decision-making power .

Hide doubt
Do not brood openly , distrust, suspect. Once the task is distributed, support the appropriate employee and blindly trust him - externally. Even if there are secret doubts. Do not stumble, do not waver, be steady - and thus give self-confidence .

Develop fault tolerance
Do not expect perfection. Do not animate to avoid mistakes. To understand mistakes as a learning process - and as inevitable. Anyone who transfers responsibility can not avoid every accident.

Deny heroism
Do not give the team the feeling that in case of doubt they already have the right solution and can act as saviors. It should solve the problems on their own, in their own way. Do not play the superhero, but rather the side kick.

To offer visions
Develop a mission statement that the team can use to orient themselves . Where do we want to go? Which goals and when to achieve? To show how each individual can contribute.

Loosen specifications
Say WHAT you want to do. Not how to do it. Building on the expertise of the employees. Be surprised sometimes by their hidden abilities . Do not tie the corset too tight.

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