Boldness: Having the Courage to Take Risks

January 29, 2019
Boldness is a human virtue that we all can enhance. Thanks to it, we're able to take risks and face difficulties with assertiveness.

Boldness is related to courage and willpower. It’s that vital impulse that opens paths and broadens our perspective. Bold individuals are those who have learned to take risks, respectfully claim what they deserve, and work hard every single day to achieve what they desire.

Fear and courage go hand-in-hand. Human beings are always forced to overcome the barriers of anguish and insecurity to achieve their goals. Thus, there’s one thing we must reflect on. Where can we get that inspiring spark that ignites our courage when we need it?

Fear is a great barrier in life, which is why most people are very resistant to change. That’s where boldness comes into play. This is a personal value that makes us gain confidence and believe in ourselves. It gives us the necessary push so that we can reach our goals and face adversities.

“He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life.”

-Muhammad Ali-

Søren Kierkegaard, the father of existentialism, said that courage requires a momentary loss of balance. Being afraid to take risks implies losing oneself sooner or later. It’s important to be willing to awaken your internal boldness. Below, we discuss four important keys that’ll help you accomplish this.

A man observing the landscape from the top of a mountain.

Four keys to enhancing boldness to be able to take risks

Not enough scientific literature touches on the topic of boldness and courage. Only very specific studies include this ability in a discipline we like to call “personal development”. However, we do think it’s important to mention a very interesting study that Martin Seligman carried out which was published in the American Journal of Psychiatry in 2005.

In this study, he described the defining characteristics of the people who were capable of facing adversity. Additionally, he also studied those who invested their personal resources and developed skills to work on their own well-being – people who evidently knew how to assertively manage stress and anxiety. Boldness stood out among the rest.

Now, boldness isn’t just a synonym of courage. From a psychological point of view, it goes beyond being brave enough to take risks.

It involves the desire to act appropriately. A bold individual is ethical in everything they do. Their willpower allows them to conquer their fears.

Let’s dive into the dimensions that can help you awaken your boldness.

A woman walking through a field wanting to take risks.

1. In the face of uncertainty, make decisions

Psychologist Daniel Kahneman studies decision-making processes. According to him, uncertainty is that one aspect that always puts us to the test. It’s that space where fears become bigger and insecurity takes over. Not knowing what will happen makes us extremely angsty. In fact, it can even immobilize us to the point where we simply don’t know what to do.

Boldness can help you deal with these situations a lot better because it can guide your decision-making journey. Dr. Kahneman explains that decision making is not as complicated as it may seem. Just choosing what we’re going to eat today is a decision in and of itself.

You have to make a decision to take risks. It’s the first step to achieving control over your life.

“The willingness to consider possibility requires a tolerance of uncertainty.”

-Rachel Naomi Remen-

2. Think outside the box and question things

Those who don’t question their reality end up subjecting to it. Sooner or later, they realize their environment has conditioned them. A bold person, on the other hand, doesn’t do this. Boldness leads you to think differently, be doubtful, and question what you already know. It makes you want to go further and have your own opinion about things.

We must bear something in mind: this process takes time and patience. The individual needs to break their already-shaped molds and give things new meaning.

You must first observe your surroundings and the rest will come naturally. Sooner or later, your assertive inner voice will emerge and you’ll start questioning reality. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box when it comes to taking risks.

3. Be responsible for yourself

Opening the way to boldness and courage implies making a pact with yourself. It’s important to be your most important ally. First of all, declare yourself responsible for everything you do, every aspect that you leave behind, and every mistake. Taking accountability for your actions is key when it comes to wanting to take risks.

You’ll be ready to move forward only when you stop blaming others for disappointments or mistakes.

Also, calm minds are the only ones able to appreciate life with great clarity. Only those who leave grudges and fears aside can move forward and take risks. Remember that anger hinders assertiveness and self-confidence.

“The price of greatness is responsibility.”

-Winston Churchill-

A man climbing to the top of a mountain under the starry sky.

4. Expand your horizons

Only by getting away from the coast will we be able to discover the greatness and beauty of the ocean. However, as we know, few things frighten us more than realizing that the shore is out of reach. This is why we tend to stay in our comfort zone for so long.

Brené Brown, a researcher at the University of Houston and specialist in dimensions such as vulnerability, anger, and shame, points out that no one comes into this world with a boldness that’s capable of making them fearless in the face of danger.

As previously mentioned, this is a slow but satisfactory process. In fact, you don’t need to go too far in order to expand your horizons. We sometimes even grow as human beings just by meeting other people. All in all, coming out of our comfort zone and taking risks leads to self-knowledge and self-development.

You can also be bold by daring yourself to change habits. This is also a big part of leaving your comfort zone. You don’t have to make big changes all at once – small steps can also broaden your mind, strengthen your heart, and enhance the boldness you already have inside of you.

“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.”

-Neale Donald Walsch-

CLONINGER, C. R. (2005). Character Strengths and Virtues: A Handbook and Classification. American Journal of Psychiatry. https://doi.org/10.1176/appi.ajp.162.4.820-a