This is probably the 5th time that I have started writing this post. Unbelievable. Who would have thought that defining the word “brave” can be so difficult? I mean it’s the name of my blog right! But it feels like every word I am typing sounds like a cliché or a line out of a Bruce Willis movie. Yikes. So here it goes.
When you think about the word “brave”, soldiers and firefighter probably pop into your head. We associate courage with mesmerizing accomplishments of people who fight in wars and save lives. That is the reason why being brave seems so inaccessible for most people. But what if I told you that we are all meant to be brave! That we all do things which seem brave to the person next to us.
I hear people saying that you need to be without fear and anxiety in order to be confident and successful. But living brave doesn’t mean you are fearless. It doesn’t mean you have to be ready to jump into any situation any time without being worried about it. I don’t even think that would be possible anyway. Being brave means that you act in spite of fear. For example, before I left for Australia I was terrified. Me, alone on the other side of the planet? No way! But I went. Or how I still get nervous every time I have to drive alone with my car through a big city. No big deal you might think. But I always worry about the traffic and about me getting lost. My orientation is the worst. Seriously. But you know what? I do it anyway.
Failure is an option, a beautiful option
In order to change your life, you need to accept that failure in an option. It doesn’t mean your life will be ruined forever though. You just change its direction. Sometimes people let their anxiety limit them and derail them focus on doubts. What if it doesn’t work out? What if they don’t like me? What if they think I am weird? So they’d rather stay in their comfort zone where it is safe and cozy. Even though it could mean that they will never live their lives to its full potential.
So you need to ask yourself how much you want to live. Ask yourself if you drive every morning to work because you love your job or because it is a safe position? Are you really happy in your relationship or you just don’t want to be alone? Do you really enjoy the city you live in or is it just because all your friends are there? And yes, I am aware that these questions can be difficult to answer. Being comfortable can sometimes feel like being happy in the short run. But when the years pass by, your life will turn grey. It looses the colour of excitement and adventure. And believe me you want those beautiful bright colours in there.
To live brave is not an all or nothing game
So start exposing yourself to those vulnerable moments. Start by taking small risks. It doesn’t have to be an all or nothing game. Your life is still happening in your comfort zone. You just jump out for a moment before you go right back in. The more action you take, the braver you get. Why do you think it took me until I was 27 years old when I started travelling? It felt like every backpacker I met was younger than me. Fact is that you move at your own pace. Begin small and work your way up. Start by going to a different grocery store. Or take a different route to work. Take your favourite book and go alone to a park you have never been before. Take one of your furniture pieces, the one you never liked that much anyway, and paint it in a different colour. There are endless opportunities for you to stretch the boundaries of your comfort zone. You will see that every time you do you will gain more confidence. You will be more spontaneous and flexible. Your mind will become more curious, enthusiastic, open-minded and creative. With every time you will get stronger and braver. Small actions will turn into big actions, which will turn into life changing actions.
And if something doesn’t work out the way you were hoping it would, don’t panic. Failure will always be a part of your journey. You need to realize that it doesn’t mean you are not good enough. It just means that it wasn’t the right time. Don’t let those moments affect your spirit. Try it again or change the direction until you find the path which is meant to be yours. Remember, there is always another opportunity waiting around the corner. Learn from your mistakes and don’t look back. What counts is right in front of you. Just open your eyes and start looking for it.
Take chances. Make mistakes. Live the life you love.