Courage is about Making Things Happen

05 September, 2020
Courage makes people act like they have no fear, and it's about making things happen even in the worst circumstances. Thus, courageous people are those who promote changes in order to achieve well-being or freedom. 
 

What makes a person courageous? Courage is about fearlessness, determination, and making things happen.

Psychology has been analyzing this dimension for years. The consensus, as curious as it might sound, is that courage is as simple as making things happen. It’s about generating positive change even during difficult circumstances. That is, in situations in which others would give up.

Martin Seligman, a promoter of positive psychology, spoke about courage. He said it’s the dimension that acts as one of the most healing components during therapy. In addition, it has genetic, educational, and environmental roots.

Parents often instill a proactive attitude towards life to remind their offspring that they have to put fear aside in order to reach their goals. Unfortunately, people who lack such reinforcement during their childhood and grow up insecure or have suffered a traumatic experience often lack this courage.

For this reason, Seligman conceives it as an essential element during the therapeutic process. It must arise after the patient works with a professional and some effort on their part. Thus, when the person changes, it’ll be clear they’ve learned to treasure their own determination. In other words, they’ll have the motivation to transform their life.

This is when they decide to shape and achieve a new stage in which to feel more in control and safe. This is the best courage of all, the most enriching for a person’s well-being.

 
A backpacker on top of a mountain.

Courage is about making things happen

Some scientific literature says that courage arises as a result of a primary struggle against emotions such as fear. From a neurobiological standpoint, it involves regulating the influence of the amygdala. This is the brain region related to the most intense emotions. The same one that paralyzes and hijacks your thoughts when it takes over.

Similarly, it also implies enhancing areas such as the prefrontal cortex. In other words, those linked to decision-making, reflection, planning, and attention to environmental stimuli without the influence of fear or anguish. In fact, much of the research available on this type of behavior comes from the military sphere (Neria, Solomon, Ginzburg, and Dekel (2000)) and from stories in which certain soldiers performed heroic acts when they were in great danger.

“I just remained calm and did what I had to do,” say many of these young people trained to react quickly in risky situations. But what about civilians? Can anyone be a hero without military training?

Doctors Uhri Kugel and Catherine Haussman conducted a study at the University of Oxford. The date it reveals is interesting. Let’s analyze this!

 

Although courage is often romanticized, it’s actually a cognitive skill

Courage is about making things happen because you promote change. Furthermore, courage is about focusing on a goal in the midst of adverse circumstances. No, you don’t have to be the classic hero who battles dragons. Courage is a cognitive skill anyone can learn and apply, according to current science.

It basically consists of igniting your will to act in spite of your fear, in being able to look at uncertainty and doubt to then move forward and take action. You can attain something like this by working on the following:

  • Proper anxiety management, as you’ll reset your mentality in order to take action when you’re able to recognize the thought patterns that imprison you.
  • Be emotionally aware. This consists of knowing how to connect with your emotions in order to transform them and use them to your benefit.
  • Remember what your values, vital purposes, and personal goals are.
  • Courage is about making things happen. This is because you develop a very specific capacity to visualize the desired goals you’ll reach if you dare to.
A woman happy to be alive.
 

Courage is about making things happen in order to have a more satisfying reality

Franco, Blau, and Zimbardo (2011) defined courage as the ability to act prosocially despite personal risk. Now, there’s current criticism regarding this definition. This is because courage isn’t always geared toward saving others. Instead, courage is mainly necessary to save oneself.

Martin Seligman already pointed out that for therapy to be effective, you must awaken your courage. In other words, you must ignite your determination in order to overcome your fears, limitations, and insecurities. This way, you’ll be more empowered and be able to achieve anything you want. Thus, you’ll be able to promote changes that resonate with you and bring you satisfaction.

Some say that people live in faith and hope. However, taking action is the only thing that can truly transform your reality. This is because courage is a mixture of emotions, thoughts, and feelings oriented towards advancement in order to promote something positive, either for yourself or for others. Just keep this in mind.

 
  • Uri Kugel, Catherine Hausman, Laurie Black, and Bruce Bongar (2017) Psychology of Physical Bravery Psychology of Physical Bravery- Psychology, Social PsychologyOnline Publication Date: Jul 2017DOI: 10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199935291.013.36
  • Neria, Y. Y., Solomon, Z. Z., Ginzburg, K. K., & Dekel, R. R. (2000). Sensation seeking, wartime performance, and long-term adjustment among Israeli war veterans. Personality and Individual Differences29, 921–932. doi:10.1016/S0191-8869(99)00243-3