“Excellence comes about as a result of habit. We become just by doing just acts, temperate by doing temperate acts, brave by doing brave acts.” – Aristotle
Courage is like a muscle.
Just as you wouldn’t go into the gym for the first time and lift a 100-pound dumbbell – you don’t have to begin building courage by running for President. People often think that courage has to be big. Like sky-diving. Or giving a speech to a stadium. Those things do require courage, yes. But in some ways, that’s baby courage. It’s obvious courage.
I call it Bungee-Jumping Courage.
Bungee-Jumping Courage is convenient because it lets us define ourselves as “not courageous.” When you set the stakes that high, then you never have to approach it. You simply get to say, “Hmm, I must not have courage.”
I’m not letting you get off that easy! Why? Because there’s a deeper level of courage. It makes you strong. It makes you fall in love with yourself. It makes you fall in love with your life.
At its core, courage is about strengthening your relationship with yourself.
Here are 52 ways – little and big – to build your courage. Some of them seem completely foolish. But they’re not. They’re just uncomfortable. And that’s the whole point!
Success in life is directly related to how uncomfortable you’re willing get. Now, get uncomfortable and go be courageous!
1 – Paint your nails green. (Guys get extra credit for this one!)
2 – Begin to live your life as an “experiment.”
3 – If you’re always spontaneous, plan something in advance and stick with it. If you’re a meticulous planner, do something spontaneous.
4 – Quit your job.
5 – Start a blog.
6 – Take a drawing class.
7 – Learn a new language.
8 – Begin yoga.
9 – Do something tourist-y in your own town.
10 – Get up in the morning after having a bad day yesterday. Encourage yourself to begin again.
11 – Give money away.
12 – Look into people’s eyes when you’re in public – on the street, buying groceries, etc.
13 – Hire someone to do a regular task you can’t stand doing. (i.e., mowing the lawn.)
14 – Play music more. Watch TV less.
15 – Get rid of everything in your home that’s not an Absolute Yes.
16 – Put on a goofy smile and look at other drivers when you stop at lights.
17 – Go vegan.
18 – If you never host parties or dinners – invite friends over for dinner.
19 – Teach a workshop.
20 – Start a mastermind group.
21 – Be bad at something. Do it anyway.
22 – Make requests. Don’t complain.
23 – Join a writer’s group.
24 – Hire a life coach.
25 – In social situations, allow people to come talk with you instead of running around the room “networking.”
26 – Worry less. Act more.
27 – Enter a writing contest.
28 – Start your own business.
29 – Ask someone out on a date.
30 – Make a business card for yourself.
31 – Eat at an ethnic restaurant you’ve never considered.
32 – Respond. Don’t react.
33 – Get some music from another culture. Sit down and really listen.
34 – Listen more. Talk less. Especially to your kids.
35 – Take a swing dance class.
36 – Hire a physical trainer.
37 – Start a book club.
38 – Test-drive a luxury car.
39 – End a relationship that drains you or hurts you.
40 – Pray.
41 – Quit smoking.
42 – Take different routes to work each day.
43 – Drive around and get lost on purpose.
44 – Wake up at 5am and write.
45 – Assumptions are the enemy of success. Question them often.
46 – Excuses are the enemy of action. Stop making them.
47 – Admit when you are wrong.
48 – Write a fan letter to someone who’s not famous – a teacher, a grocery store clerk – anyone who delights you or touches you.
49 – Pick one incomplete in your life. (A cluttered garage, for instance.) Tackle it for 15 minutes a day. It’s more courageous to do something for a small chunk of time and do it again the very next day – than it is to sit back and say it can’t be done because you don’t have enough time.
50 – Do an open-mic night.
51 – Pay the toll of the person behind you.
52 – Run for President.