It doesn’t matter if you’re one of the most cowardly people out there…
Once you decide to become brave, you’ll become one eventually—if you put in the effort, that is.
So in this article, I will share hacks and tricks you can pull to be a little braver day by day.
1) Be okay with being scared
Nelson Mandela once said, “Courage is not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it.”
Bravery isn’t about being unable to feel fear and anxiety. It’s about knowing how to live with them and how to keep them from holding you back.
If you have social anxiety, there’s no shame in admitting (at least to yourself) that you stutter and break in sweat when talking to crowds.
So as tempting as it may be to feel ashamed when you get scared—especially if others are not—you should instead step back, take a deep breath, and tell yourself that it’s perfectly okay to be scared.
Simply because you feel fear doesn’t mean you aren’t brave or courageous. It simply means that you’re human, just like everyone else.
2) List down your WHYs
Everytime you’re anxious about something, ask yourself why you’re scared…and list them down.
It’s important that you try to understand the reasons behind why you feel scared.
For example, if you feel like chickening out at the very idea of meeting someone from a dating app, ask yourself why.
Are you just scared because you met on a dating app or are you anxious about dating in general? What if they’re your co-worker or friend, instead—would you feel as scared?
Keep digging so you’ll know how to handle your fears.
Acknowledging the FEELING of fear is one thing. But what’s important is knowing the WHY so you’ll know the HOW.
Make a list of your fears and the possible reasons behind them. This will allow you to know who you are and see your patterns.
3) Imagine it’s all just a dream
The moment you wake up, convince yourself that it’s all just a dream. This will psych you up to become braver each day.
When we dream, we don’t tend to care too much about consequences or what might eventually happen because, as far as we’re aware, we’re simply dreaming. There isn’t much at risk.
I’m not suggesting that you should go jumping on buildings and slaying beasts. What you should do, however, is to simply try to be unapologetically who you are and do whatever it is you want to do.
And anyway, if we really think about it, life is but a dream, isn’t it?
4) Exercise your courage muscle
You can think of your bravery as being something like a muscle.
The more you train it, the more confident you become. Try to build it too fast, and you’ll sprain yourself. Neglect it, and it’ll wither away.
That’s why if you’re having issues with courage, it will help you a lot to start small. Try to identify things you’re afraid of, and then tackle them one by one starting with something easy… like going on double dates instead of one-on-one.
Every time you succeed, a little part of you will go “wait, I can do that? That wasn’t so bad” and that will make it easier for you to move on to the next level.
5) Submit it then forget it
If you need to send a business proposal or a love letter or an essay, just go do it…then once you click send, forget it and move on to the next.
It can be quite scary to go and make a shot—after all, what if you fail?—but if you think about it, you already miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.
Let’s say you paint and you want to submit something to the local gallery, but you’re insecure about whether your art is “good enough” for them to accept.
If you go ahead and submit your piece, you’ll either see your work displayed or not. If you do NOT submit your piece, then you’ve guaranteed that your piece will definitely not be displayed at all.
The best option, really, is to just do it. If you fail, at least you tried.
6) YOLO your way through indecision
If telling yourself that you should just take that shot isn’t enough to convince you, perhaps it would help to remember that whatever you do, you only live once.
Sometimes we think too much about the things we need to do, so we keep on postponing it and convincing ourselves of how hard it actually is. We end up scaring ourselves into not doing anything.
And chances are that things aren’t even as bad as we thought they would be.
That’s why, sometimes, we really do need to just turn our brains off for a few good moments and YOLO it.
Once you’ve made that leap of faith, you might just find how easy things actually are.
7) Allow yourself to be a “loser”
The best way to do this is by pitting yourself against others. In a friendly way, of course.
So if you see any contests or games that you might be able to try your hand at, get involved.
You don’t have to be a pro by any means. If you know you have some skill at writing, then try your hand at a short story contest.
You will lose some, but you will also win some. Every victory will be an obvious boost to your own sense of self-worth, of course, but even if you lose, the mere act of trying will help you feel a bit bolder.
This will also make you immune to “failure”, which is a good trick if you want to become a little braver.
8) Scare yourself silly
Unfortunate as it might be, sometimes you really have no choice but to shock yourself into moving forward.
And for that you can try scaring yourself silly with something even scarier than what you’re currently afraid of.
Sure, it might be scary to quit your job and try looking for a new one, but if you don’t try moving on, you might just end up stuck in the same unpleasant office until you retire, with no choice of ever moving up.
And sure, it might be terrifying to step forward and confess to your crush, but if you don’t tell them about it then they might end up dating someone else instead.
This can give you the courage to do the scary thing in front of you.
9) Challenge your negative thoughts
We all have that little voice in our head, always nagging and trying to convince us of the worst case scenarios to our every little decision.
It’s not entirely a bad thing—sometimes it will help you avoid grave mistakes—but if you let this voice take full reign, you’ll live in fear.
You might go “I shouldn’t even try, I’ll only get rejected anyways and they’ll call me a tryhard” but that’s when you should smack yourself with a big stop sign and ask “so effin’ what?”
Why does it matter if you’ll get rejected, and what does it matter if some people might call you a tryhard for even trying?
You can’t please everybody, after all.
It might be hard standing up for yourself against… well, yourself. But the more you keep challenging your negative thoughts, the better you’ll get at tearing them down.
10) Remind yourself that it’s okay to ask for help
Bravery, confidence, and empowerment go hand in hand, and so by building up your confidence—both in the short term and the long term—you’re helping yourself get a little bit braver.
And there’s just something comforting and empowering about knowing that you don’t have to power through things entirely on your own.
So when you find yourself balking at, say, talking to a long-time crush, then you can always find a trusted friend to hype you up or even help subtly set up a meeting.
Or when you find yourself having second thoughts about picking up a new job because of how it seems beyond you, remind yourself that you can always ask for tips and recommendations from a friend… and when push comes to shove, the internet is at your fingertips.
Building bravery comes hand in hand with building your own confidence, and for that reason, if you want to become braver you should definitely try to build your own self-confidence.
The lack of bravery—cowardice—after all, is built upon insecurity.
So the sooner you deal with your insecurities, be it by building new skills or watching motivational videos, the better you’ll manage.