Courage – Part 2
Courage is not the absence of fear. Rather, courage is effective fear management combined with an attitude of “bring it on.” Research supports the notion that self-awareness and consequent self-management lead to a reduction of fear and higher levels of success in any particular activity. Displaying courage means that a highly functioning individual is able to bring him or herself back to homeostatic balance quickly (as compared to a “non-courageous” individual) and take appropriate action. Courage, then, is the application of a set of skills habituated until they become part of one’s arsenal of competent actions performed at a conscious and unconscious level.
It is sensible that if you have emotional control, situational and self-awareness then you will be able to think clearly and process your emotional states efficiently. As a result you will deal more effectively in a high challenge situation than someone who does not possess these skills. This is the difference between good leaders and poor leaders, or those who survive and those who die in a survival situation.
Jeff Wise, in his book Extreme Fear, has some good insight on fear and courage. He is a writer for Popular Science and his blog is a great read www.jeffwise.net.
His findings mirror many of our teachings at SEALFIT / Unbeatable Mind. In Part 1 of this article we looked at his first principle, the importance of fitness to mental toughness. Additionally we discussed his second principle – that of surrounding yourself with a good team to lean on, in the context of the Kokoro camp experience. Now let’s review his next few principles:
Principle 3 – Expose Yourself to More
Jeff is preaching to the choir on this one also. Pushing the envelope of experience. Train harder than you expected. Fall down 7 times, and get up 8. Benchmark your life experiences by going farther, faster, harder…it builds confidence and provides a ladder of success for the next level. This is how the 20X factor is revealed through hard physical and mental training…one evolution at a time.
Jeff reminds us to “be sure to reward yourself when you’re successful. The goal is to train the emotional centers of your brain to anticipate a positive outcome when pushing boundaries.” Thank you Jeff – I need to remember that one more often!
Principle 4 – Think Positive
More than just thinking positive thoughts, and positive self-talk, we must maintain a positive state of energy and “show up” in the world with this energy. Jeff cites a research report from a guy named Mark Taylor. Olympic athletes were surveyed by Taylor about whether they practiced positive mental skills such as silently voicing affirming thoughts. Taylor found that those who did were significantly more likely to survive the intense pressure of elite competition and reach the medal stand. This principle cannot be stressed enough. As stated, I believe the impact of positive thinking goes well being the mental and into the spiritual realm. Have you ever seen a negative martial arts master? Or a negative Navy SEAL for that matter? No. In fact it can’t happen because negativity would attract failure and dis-ease, torpedoing any attempts at self-mastery and developing courage.
Principle 5 – Change the Frame
This is a good one. Mr. Wise asks us to re-frame by consider the larger context and the good things that might come along with the bad. When a crisis seems overwhelming “write out best case and worst case scenarios, and how likely they are to come about,” recommends Rick Harvey, Assistant Professor of Health Education and Holistic Health at San Francisco State University. “When you can say to yourself, ‘You know what, the worse-case scenario isn’t very likely,’ then you can stop worrying.”
At SEALFIT we propose the use of mental models to help us clarify and re-frame a situation. The Integral AQAL model is an excellent example. Learning integral “perspective taking” brings awareness to what is going on from a teammate’s point of view. This will help you change your frame, and in the process make decisions that are in your interests as well as those of the team.
Continued in part 3…we will finish our discussion of courage soon by looking at principles 6, 7 and 8. Until then, train hard, stay safe and have fun! –Mark Divine
Notes: Kokoro Camp 21 is next week! Last call for action – contact us asap if you still want in. Also, the Unbeatable Mind Academy continues to explode with interest.
Please visit www.unbeatablemind.com for more information about this powerful 12 month program.
Until next time, train hard, stay safe and have fun!