What makes someone fearless? It’s not necessarily the boldness to go skydiving or bungee jumping. A courageous person is someone who has any (or many) of these 20 traits:
1) You’re well-aware of your fears…
Contrary to popular beliefs, fearless people aren’t afraid of anything.
What makes them ballsy, however, is they readily acknowledge these fears.
They understand that fear – although a thing of the mind – triggers physical reactions.
When you’re scared, your nervous system goes into overdrive. This is what scientists call the ‘fight or flight’ response.
These people know that fear is the body’s way to protect them. It’s not there to intimidate them.
For fearless individuals, fear is more of a guide that’ll help them achieve their goals.
2) …But you don’t let fear take over you
Say you’re afraid of flying. Suddenly, mild turbulence took place for a few minutes.
Though it wasn’t bad enough to alarm other people, you’re already through the roof. You’re pale, sweaty, and seconds away from barfing.
While they’re enough to cause injuries, reports show that it’s because they’re not wearing seatbelts.
So what does this have to do with fear? According to Dr. Theo Tsaouisides, it’s all about potentiation.
When this happens, your fear becomes extreme – simply because you’re already in a state of fear.
For a potentiated individual, slight turbulence means a plane dive to death.
While it’s hard to fight such thoughts, fearless people know that they should – and they must. They don’t let these ideas cripple them. Instead, they use it as motivation to fight back.
3) You’re objective
It’s easy to be swayed by emotions and feelings. Fearless people, however, know well to stay away from them.
They live by objectivity, which means they’re not easily swayed by:
- Personal perspectives
- Value judgments
- Personal interests
Being objective helps these individuals be more attentive and active. Whereas emotions may quickly stop them from doing something, objectivity keeps them focused.
This is how they’re able to achieve the things that subjective people can’t.
4) You’re realistic
It’s good to be optimistic. However, fearless people know it’s better to be realistic than positive.
Being too positive can lead to disappointment and frustration.
Add to that, it can make you lose track of the things that matter the most.
By being realistic, fearless people know what they can (and can’t) change.
They know that when it comes to overwhelming obstacles, the realistic way to tackle them is to break them down into parts.
With this strategy, they march through struggles more easily than the usual optimists.
Being realistic is an excellent quality to have. But what else makes you unique and exceptional?
To help you find the answer, we’ve created a fun quiz. Answer a few personal questions and we’ll reveal what your personality “superpower” is and how you can utilize it to live your very best life.
5) You’re unconventional – and proud of it!
Fearless people don’t always go with the flow. More often than not, they swim their way against it.
Take the case of the late astronaut Dr. Ronald McNair. In 1959, during the height of segregation – he showed what it means to be unconventional at such a young age.
At age 9, he marched to Lake City Public Library to borrow calculus and advanced science books.
The librarian denied him on the grounds of his race and skin color.
While kids his age would easily give up, McNair stood firm. In fact, he said he wouldn’t leave the library without the books.
The librarian ended up calling the police. Eventually, his mother Pearl convinced the librarian that she’d pay for the books if he did not return them.
Gifted with this grit, McNair eventually graduated as a high school valedictorian. He also finished his engineering course as Magna Cum Laude.
After earning his Ph.D. from MIT, McNair was chosen for the NASA astronaut program. Unfortunately, he perished with six others in the 1984 Space Shuttle Challenger accident.
Despite this sad ending, it shows that being unorthodox – like Dr. McNair – is a fearless trait.
Fun trivia: the library that denied him books – it’s now named after him.
6) You know for a fact that you’re not always in control
Humans have the innate need to be in control.
For most, control is a means to influence outcomes – so they turn out the way they want them to be.
Likewise, having control means being free from duress from anybody else.
While it’s true that ‘controlling’ people achieve more, it’s only good to a certain point. Too much of it can make one miserable.
It also makes people more terrified of life. They’re afraid that the outcome would not be favorable to them.
As such, those who know when to relish control are the ones who are most fearless.
They know that life is uncertain.
They explore things outside the box – although they don’t bite more than they can chew. They’re well-aware of their fears, after all.
Accepting uncertainty also shows that these people have mastered self-control. They know that their happiness depends on them – and not anything that necessitates control.
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7) You’re self-confident
As mentioned, fearless people acknowledge their fears. What makes them different, however, is the way they face it.
Instead of cowering down like the others, they’re more preoccupied with building their confidence.
Fearless people know that self-confidence is the best countermeasure against fear.
This gives them the ability to handle their fears better, which makes them feel more secure.
The good news is you too can build the confidence you need – just like most fearless people. You just have to:
- Know who you are – your values and weaknesses included.
- Avoid wrapping yourself too much in your thoughts and musings.
- Don’t let setbacks knock you down.
- Be assertive!
- Listen well.
- Don’t put down other people.
- Learn how to say no.
8) You’re mindful of your surroundings
Mindfulness is maintaining awareness of one’s thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations – even that of the environment.
It’s all about practicing acceptance – a key to being fearless.
As mentioned, brave people know that they aren’t always in control. Mindfulness helps them accept it.
Mindfulness also helps people achieve better self-esteem and stabler emotions.
It also paves the way for improved memory, coping strategies, and problem-solving skills – all of which are vital for living a fearless life.
9) You’re always thankful
Say you’re tasked to deliver a speech on stage. The thought of speaking to the public can be terrifying that you can end up fainting.
That’s not the case for fearless people. Instead of thinking of these scary things, they focus on something else instead: gratitude.
They’re thankful for the opportunity – not a lot of people are afforded that!
This gratitude does more than just make them fearless. It makes them happier as well.
Quoting from Harvard Health:
“Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships.”
10) You’re very willing to share
Scared people often keep to themselves. They’re afraid people will judge them – when in fact, they won’t.
This is why fearless individuals are not afraid to share their thoughts and feelings. They know that these people will listen to them.
In fact, they could give them advice that will help them live a more valiant life.
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11) You try to keep everything balanced
“Balance is not something you find, it’s something you create.”
– Jana Kingsford.
Fearless people know that it’s essential to balance all aspects of their life. They don’t focus much on the professional elements – and ignore their personal life along the way (or vice versa.)
It’s how they keep fear from putting them down.
According to psychology writer John Vespasian, balance makes people stronger. It also helps you become more self-confident, which, as mentioned, is another fearless trait.
Armed with this strength and confidence, intrepid individuals get to live a balanced life.
As such, Vespasian believes that this balance is “the greatest contributor to a fearless personality.”
12) You’re prepared for the worst-case scenario
Unlike other people who lose sleep worrying over the worst-case scenario, fearless people lose sleep because they’re preparing for it.
Fearless people always have a plan – and a backup plan for that plan. They prepare for the future instead of merely agonizing about it.
Just think of the doomsday preppers you see on TV. Sure, it’s entertaining to see people building nuclear bunkers, growing their food, and whatnot.
But in the likely case that doomsday indeed happens, they’ll be the only ones left standing – probably laughing at us unprepared non-believers.
The point here is you don’t necessarily have to doomsday prep (though having an emergency kit at bay would be helpful.) In life, you need to be prepared for the worst-case scenario. So when it happens, you won’t be bothered at all.
In fact, you may be leading the charge.
13) Fear doesn’t stop you – it only springs you into action
According to Dr. Tsaouisides, people react differently to threats.
Some are left paralyzed by imagined fears – things that may or may not occur in the future. They worry a lot, but not enough for them to do anything about it.
As for real threats, these are the ones that drive people to become braver than ever. When something dreadful is indeed about to happen, these individuals quickly spring into action.
Just think about Aron Ralston, the intrepid explorer behind the book-turned-movie ‘127 Hours.’ He was trapped between a rock and a hard place (literally,) and this gave him the guts to amputate his hand.
If he remained trapped – literally and figuratively – we wouldn’t have this inspiring story today.
In essence, fearless individuals don’t let fear take over. Instead, they use it as a means to become a better person.
14) You don’t listen to your harsh inner critic
Every person has a harsh little critic inside, telling them they can’t do this or that.
Fearless people, on the other hand, don’t listen to this negativistic voice.
Instead, they heed the encouraging voice in their head – one that’s telling them that everything is okay.
It’s a voice that tells them that it’s alright to seek help (more about this below.)
While it’s hard to set your harsh critic to mute, you can reprogram it.
According to Dr. Robert Maurer, author of “Mastering Fear,” it’s a matter of reading positive thoughts aloud two to three times a day. This will help transform your harsh critic into a more forgiving one.
15) You fall down seven times, but you stand up eight
Fearless people don’t triumph all the time. They get defeated like any other person. The only difference is they’ll punch and claw their way back up again.
Perhaps the best story for this is the celebrated Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling.
She was unemployed when she started her novels. She lived off government welfare, and for a time, considered suicide.
But like just any other courageous person, Rowling was motivated to beat her depression – something she used to describe the dementors in her books.
Just when she thought the worst was over – she finally finished her novel – she experienced blow by crushing blow.
Dozens and dozens of publishers rejected her manuscript.
While it was demotivating, to say the least, the fearless Rowling kept on trucking. With much perseverance, she finally landed a deal with a small publishing house.
The rest, of course, is Harry Potter history.
The takeaway from this? Fearless people don’t give up, even if the going gets tough. And for this, they get rewarded in ways they never thought possible.
16) You never grow tired of learning
Learning doesn’t stop when you get that coveted college diploma. It means you’re just starting.
There are lots of things you can’t learn from school, and fearless people know that. That’s why they’re always in pursuit of learning.
And it’s not always academic.
Brave individuals know that they should focus more on important life lessons, such as:
- Listening (and honoring) your body
- Developing compassion
- Being proud of everything you’ve done
- Being passionate
- Striving for excellence
- Taking risks
- Stepping into the unknown
By mastering these, they get to live a fearless yet fulfilling life.
17) You don’t stop reading!
Just like learning, most people think that reading stops once you leave school.
But for fearless people, it’s an opportunity to dive more into books. In fact, it’s what helps them build more courage in life.
If you’re committed to becoming braver – just like most fearless people – then you should try to read these books:
- Daring Greatly. Authored by Rene Brown, it’s all about accepting your imperfections – and doing something about them.
- The Big Leap. This masterpiece by Gay Hendricks will help you evolve from a mediocre person to a robust and fearless individual.
- The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook. Do fears make you anxious? With this book from Dr. Edmund Bourne, you can learn breathing techniques and herbal remedies that may alleviate your concerns.
18) You can readily laugh at yourself
Fearless people are not perfect – they make mistakes along the way. What sets them apart from the pack, however, is that they can readily laugh at themselves.
That’s because these brave individuals know that they aren’t the center of the universe. This makes them more resilient, even if bad things are thrown at them.
That said, laughing at yourself is different from putting yourself down. It’s what experts call read these books, which is seeing the light side in negative events.
Laughing at oneself goes beyond making you fearless – it can make you healthier too. Research shows that people with a healthy sense of humor are less likely to suffer from heart disease.
Adaptive humor also makes physical pain more manageable. That’s because you feel a rush of feel-good endorphins whenever you laugh.
More importantly, laughter can improve your memory. Humor can help lower the levels of cortisol, a hormone associated with poorer brain function.
With these benefits, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t laugh at yourself more often!
19) You have fearless role models
A role model is someone people look up to for inspiration and imitation. So if you want to be fearless, you need to have brave role models in your life.
They don’t necessarily have to be famous people. Perhaps you know of a family member or friend who has the fearless traits written here. By treating these people as inspiration, you get to work better on your lionheart.
20) You’re not afraid to ask for help
A fearless person knows when it’s time to ask for help.
No man is an island, after all.
Even if you’re confident or prepared for the worst-case scenario, there’ll be a time when you have to ask for help.
It’s hard since most people want to be independent and do things on their own. For some, asking for help means giving up control to somebody else.
There’s also the pervasive belief that you’ll appear needy to the people whom you ask for help.
That said, fearless people know when it’s time to send an SOS.
If you don’t know how to, make it more of a conversation than a transaction.
According to leadership coach M. Nora Bouchard, “It’s not just saying, ‘You help me,’ it’s, ‘I’ve got a problem or challenge and I could use your help. Let’s talk it through and see what we can come up with together.'”
It’s also good to rely on family and close friends – your support team.
“Try to create this team of helpers so that asking for help later on when you need it isn’t such a big deal,” Bouchard adds.
Before you hesitate to ask for help, remember this: people are almost always willing to assist you!
A fearless person is someone who’s aware, objective, and realistic.
They’re unconventional, self-confident, and mindful. They’re thankful, but they know when to relish control.
Brave people are always prepared – in fact, fear springs them into action.
And even if they fall, they continue to stand up.
Bold people are always ready to learn, even read a book or two!
They have fearless role models – and they can laugh at themselves readily!
More importantly, intrepid individuals know that they can always ask for help.
Do you possess any of the qualities above? If not, it’s not too late. You can work on them and become the fearless person you ought to be.
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