Let’s now try to learn this lesson of courage from the life of one of the greatest and most courageous people, the history of mankind ever has registered, who is one of my personal favorites and this man is no one else but the 16th President of United States of America, Honorable Mr. Abraham Lincoln. Starting from 1830 and going to 1860, he failed at almost everything he tried including business, legislature, US Congress, US Senate and even US Vice President without registering even a single significant win or victory in these 30 years which is a fairly long period of time.
However, this great and courageous man didn’t quit or give in and he kept giving his best to every contest and every battle that came his way. Even though he kept facing defeat after defeat, none of these defeats could break his courage and he kept moving ahead with the same courage as if he already knew that his job was to try and give his best and winning or losing was secondary. This losing streak prevailed almost for 30 years until a day came when this great man won the biggest victory anyone can win in United States of America, as this great man was elected as 16th President of United States of America, in November 1860 and whatever great things he achieved after that, need no mention.
Hence true courage neither lies in trying difficult tasks and winning nor does it lie in trying difficult tasks and losing, as some of you may think now. True courage lies in attempting a difficult task, giving it your best and then not bothering about the outcome. For such courageous men, failures are more welcome than successes as failures won’t only teach them how to succeed but they will also tell them how to maintain the success once achieved, which success alone will never tell.
Now that you understand what real courage is and what our aim is when we want to deal with the problem of lack of courage, let’s continue with the original topic. As I was saying, while trying risky activities at the first level of treating your problem of lack of courage, you must fail at some of these activities as such failures will teach you one thing that you need to learn the most if you are suffering from this problem, which gives you fear of losing. The correct way to get rid of this fear of losing is not to win again and again, but it is to lose also though such failures are supposed to be small ones at the first level of this treatment.
Your mind has many fears regarding what failing or losing can do to you and how your life may become miserable and worthless if you fail or lose. Due to such fears, you are afraid of trying as you don’t want to lose and this is where the root of your problem lies. In order to remove this problem from its root itself, lose more and more through conscious efforts and after trying your best of course, and start showing these fears of your mind that losing is not as bad as they projected it to be and you are just fine even after losing again and again. Try to understand this fact that the root cause of this problem of lack of confidence are the fears that you will fail and such failures will make your life miserable. Therefore, if you are able to show these fears that nothing changes much if you fail and in fact you become stronger and wiser after each failure, what is left for these fears to do anymore except leaving you for good.
No fear scares the person who loves failures as much as he loves successes because such fears can only scare you by showing very bad consequence of failures. However, when you have already seen and experienced those consequences which in most cases are not at all as bad as these fears projected, you are as comfortable with losing as you are with wining. This is when your fears or your problem of lack of courage has to leave you because you have left nothing for them to do anymore. Hence at the first level of this practice, attempt risky, difficult or scary activities of the basic level, give each one of them your best and then don’t bother about winning or losing. Whenever you lose at one of such activities, you will really find that this loss or failure has not changed much or in fact it has not changed anything at all, contrary to what your fears projected.
Looking at some specific activities, which can help you get rid of this problem at this first level, chose some activities which you were afraid to do during your young age or during your childhood and start attempting them now. This is because the fears which capture your mind during your childhood and even in your young age are the foundation of all other fears of the same type, which keep growing in the later parts of your life. For this reason, let’s shake this problem from its foundations and let’s root out these foundations as the problem will have to go away then. So start this practice with any activities from your childhood or young age which are not much of a job now but which still include elements of risk or difficulty and the primary objective is to attempt these activities without bothering about winning or losing. As you move ahead and start engaging in such activities, you will start having fun and at the same time you will start realizing that losing is not as bad as you thought or as the fears of your mind made it to be, and in fact, losing is also fun.
Though these small activities of courage may be different for different people depending on their age, country, culture and other local factors, but I will still share a few of them in order to give you an idea. For example, if you are afraid of playing football due to the fear that you will do very badly at it even though you like it very much, just start playing it and don’t bother much about whether you win or lose and instead focus on enjoying the game and learning as much as you can. As you keep playing it more and more, you will surely learn how to play it better and accordingly you will start getting better at this game even though you may still not be as good at it as many other players are. However, your competition is not with other players and your competition is with yourself. Therefore, even if you see an improvement of 25% after a month or so, you have achieved two good things. The first one is the improvement in this game of football and the second and the bigger one is that now you are not afraid of playing football and you are enjoying this game, which means that one of your fears has left you for good.
Likewise, if you like dancing but you don’t do it much because you don’t know much about dancing, start taking lessons in dancing and start dancing more and more even if you do miserably at it, in the beginning. As in the first case, you will start becoming better and better in this case also even though you may not be as good as some other people who are taking these lessons with you. Once again, that is not relevant and our only objective is to become better at dancing and hence this completion is only with you and not with anyone else. As you keep doing it again and again, your fear of dancing will start keeping more and more distance from you and one day, it will leave you for good. Once again you have received two wonderful gifts: you have learned to dance better and you have got rid of one more fear.
Similarly, choose other activities which interest you but which you are afraid to do as you fear that you may do badly or very badly at them, and start doing these activities without bothering about the results which are bound to be good, sooner or later. For example, you can start cooking more and more new dishes, or start taking cooking classes if cooking is what you like and fear at the same time, you can start taking lessons in swimming if this is what you like and fear at the same time, you can start taking lessons in horse riding if you like and fear it at the same time, you can start learning how to drive a car if this is what you like and fear at the same time, you can start learning how to climb a tree if this is what you wanted to do in your childhood but you didn’t do it as you feared that you would fall, you can start visiting more and more deserted places if this is what you feared in your childhood and likewise, you can start engaging in hundreds of other activities which you liked and feared and hence you didn’t do them.
Always remember to choose the activities which are easier for you to do at first. Then start doing them with all your heart and courage without counting the number of wins and losses. Soon you will start feeling that it is playing a game or engaging in an activity that matters more than winning every time. Once you understand this fact, you will welcome each and every loss or failure and you will start learning from them also. This is the time when your fears will have to leave you because if you are not afraid of losing or failing, there is nothing left for these fears to do and accordingly they leave you and start finding the next suitable candidate.
As you start getting better and more comfortable with the activities chosen for the first level, start engaging in activities which are more difficult than your current activities but not very difficult at the same time as you want to increase the level of difficulty, bit by bit and not all at once. As you try more and more things that you feared and as you start enjoying more and more of them, you are all set to try big and even bigger things in many other spheres of your life as you have now understood that trying and giving your best is all that matters and winning or losing is only a part of the game as well as a part of life.
Always remember that your failures are your teachers who teach you how not to fail again and how to increase your chances of success next time by not making the same mistakes. So keep learning from your failures until there is nothing left to learn and this is the time when you are all set to succeed more and more as you have already learnt most ways through which you are likely to fail and accordingly, you are now able to stay away from these mistakes and hence your chances of achieving success are far better now.
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To be Continued
Lord Shiva Bless You