Olympic sprinter Michael Johnson
No matter what your dream is, whether it’s to be the best Dad or the best Mom, the best husband or the best wife, the best employee or the best boss, the best salesperson or the best student you can be, to make it a reality, you will have to have the courage to act in spite of your fears.
High achievement requires courage, self-confidence, boldness, and the willingness to go for your goals with no guarantee of success. With courage you can do anything in life. Without it, none of the other qualities will help you.
The first time I saw the Olympics on TV I was in the third grade. As soon as I saw the Olympians I knew I wanted to be just like them. What impressed me the most about the Olympians was not their athletic ability. What I admired about the Olympians was their values. You see, these were people that had a dream, and had the courage to commit fully to it for years with no guarantee of success. That’s what impressed me about them!
Sure they had outstanding athletic ability. But more importantly, they had the faith, the guts, the boldness, and the willingness to go for it with no guarantees of success. They had that rare attitude of not worrying about the possibility of failure. They were going to go for it and commit 100% to winning no matter what. It’s like they said to themselves, “It’s my dream and I’m going for it. That’s it period!”
When you move boldly towards you goals, when you make the decision to do whatever it takes (and all it is is an attitude change, a choice), magic happens. All of a sudden, unseen forces will come to your aid. The bolder and more committed you are, the more your subconscious will work for you. You will unconsciously start to attract the people and resources you need to achieve your goal. All of a sudden, you will draw energy to making your dream a reality.
People will start saying you are lucky. Winners know there is no such thing as luck. All that is really happening is that now, you have become driven. You are known for your goal. Everybody can see it. Your every action is broadcasting to the world where you are headed, and all of a sudden, anyone who might be interested in helping you, can see you are serious.
When you are focused on your goal, your mind starts acting like a guided missile. It becomes tuned to anything that might help you achieve your goal. This is not any different than when you buy a new car and all of a sudden you notice how many other people are driving the same model car.
When you put all of your energy into one goal, you tap into huge resources. That single decision changes everything. All the stress and worry disappears. Your mental attitude changes completely. You are now the hunter. The dream has become the prey that will eventually succumb to you.
When you make the decision to commit 100%, the winner inside you comes out. The champion inside you comes out. The real you comes out. You just have to have the courage to face your fears.
Your fears are a smokescreen. They are like ghosts that keep you from being the real you. Your best you. It’s OK to be afraid. Everyone is afraid! If everyone is afraid, what’s the difference between a brave person and a coward? The brave person acts in spite of his fears. The coward allows his fears to overwhelm him and control his thoughts, feelings and behaviors.
Can courage be developed? Absolutely. Aristotle said, “Through repetition, any quality can be developed. You become what you repeatedly do.” Do you realize the implications of that statement? It means we are not doomed to being the way we currently are.
You can change! You can grow! You can be a different person three months from now! In case you haven’t figured it out, that EXCITES me! You see, if that is true, and it is, now you know that it is within you to grow into the kind of person that can make your dreams come true.
Back to courage. The way to develop courage is by practicing courage in every situation where courage is required. How do you do that? Through a decision. You come to the realization that whenever you are afraid to do something, you are simply being tested. You make a decision that from now on you will win over your fear. Remember; if you do what you fear, the fear will disappear. If you don’t do what you fear, the fear will control your life.
Make a game out of conquering your fears. You can get started with small things. For example, if you usually wait to see what everyone else is having when you’re ordering in a restaurant, next time, be the first to order. When you do that, you will have experienced a small personal victory. You just won over that fear. Next time you are talking to somebody and you want to ask a question but you are afraid of looking stupid, ask anyways. Guess what? You’ve just won another personal victory. Score: Fears – 0, Courage –2.
You need to win many many personal victories before you will win a public victory. Michael Johnson, the 200 meter and 400 meter Olympic Gold medalist, says in his biography, “I did not miss a scheduled workout in 10 years.” His public victory did not happen overnight.
By becoming conscious of your fears and making a game out of conquering them, before long you will begin to understand in your heart that fears are just smokescreens. And by playing that game all the time, you are becoming more courageous every day.