Updated: Apr 6, 2020
Our natural instinct may be to recoil from challenges or anything we are not used to. This can result in us procrastinating in order to avoid facing what we fear. Left long enough, these feelings can develop into anxiety and an inability to move forward. We stagnate.
World-renowned speaker and writer, Brene Brown, writes in her bestselling book, Rising Strong, that we should choose courage over comfort and accountability over blame. We are responsible for our own happiness and we are in control of the thoughts that we have. Brown talks about the necessity of being vulnerable in order to be courageous. This requires emotional courage, but the benefits that can be reaped can be life-changing.
Courageous people are not necessarily 'stronger' than anyone else. They just accept that they need to show vulnerability in order to move forward. Think of something that you fear (I don't mean being chased by a lion, but instead something like trying to make amends with someone that you have fallen out with, applying for a new job, forgiving, ending a relationship or asking someone out for a drink). Now think of how good you will feel if the result is positive.
If the result is not what you had hoped for, so what?! You tried. You put yourself out there. You showed vulnerability and you learned. The great Eleanor Roosevelt wrote, Learning and living: they really are the same thing, aren't they? The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience. Fast forward your imagination to this time next year and think about how you may feel if your life is at exactly the same point as it is today. Now imagine the same scenario in five and then ten years.
You cannot hope to develop and improve your relationships, career, finances or health if you do not commit to changing something. The first step is to commit to changing your mindset.
Think about how you speak to yourself: would you speak to a friend so harshly? Have you suffered unwarranted criticism in the past that has formed your self-beliefs? Do you make excuses about not having enough money, time or opportunities? The fact is that no one owes you a life.
No one is responsible for the development of the aspects of your life. No one else is responsible for your happiness. This is your job and you need to take responsibility and be accountable for that. Buy some second hand trainers, take a free university course on Coursera or EdX, look at how much time you spend scrolling social media when you could be exercising, socialising face-to-face or working on your CV so that it is ready when a suitable job opportunity pops up.
All of these situations will make you vulnerable, but in turn, they will make you courageous and more willing to try new things in the future.