by Naïby Jacques
“Life is inherently risky. There is only one big risk you should avoid at all costs, and that is the risk of doing nothing.”
Have you ever wondered what gives some people the willingness to move without fear or hesitation?
They do things you believe you can’t do because you’re afraid of the outcome, of the unknown, of the pain.
You see people who can let go of things that might matter to them, and move on with their lives without struggling too much. You see people who can quit or change their jobs, end difficult relationships, and travel around the world, just like that.
Sometimes you regret not trying harder to follow in the footsteps. And you wonder…
What do these people have that I don’t? What’s their secret?
Well, I’ve studied the lives of dozens of courageous (and also successful) people over the years, and I’m happy to share these time-tested strategies for courageously living your life without regrets:
- Be as weird as you are. – Don’t be afraid to provoke the status quo. Maybe some of your ideas are crazy. But crazy ideas are what shake the world. Crazy ideas make revolutions. So don’t be afraid to be different, and don’t be afraid to break traditions. Sure, some people will be frustrated and opposed to your weirdness. Some people might even criticize you. But even if it takes time for them to embrace your ideas, you’re showing them a new way of thinking. You’re planting a seed in their heads and opening their minds – and you’re opening your own mind too. The minute you understand that you can be weird and mold life your own way, you allow yourself to shake off the erroneous notion that life is just there, and that you’re just going to exist in it, rather than embrace it, change it, improve it, and truly live it.
- Choose to act even when you’re unsure of your ability. – Everyone has doubts about their abilities. You might think you’re not good enough, not smart enough, or not strong enough. And it’s OK if you’re not great at something, because you don’t have to be. It doesn’t matter if you don’t do things perfectly either. What matters is that you dare to try. Instead of looking at the end result (the big picture), divide your project into pieces and tackle the piece you feel most comfortable with first. You need to be content with small steps in life. Honestly, that’s all life is – small steps that you take every day, and then one day when you look back down the road it all adds up and you know you covered some serious distance. (Read The Miracle Morning.)
- Fearlessly follow your intuition. – Intuition is seeing with the soul. It’s about giving your God-given instincts a say in the matter. Of course, at first this may seem irrational. You might think the more you over-analyze, the more you’ll make good decisions, right? But more often than not, doing so can actually lead you to make poorer decisions. Exclusively using your rational mind, or relying on your ego, keeps you safe and secure – meaning there’s no room to take calculated risks and learn and grow from them. Using your rational mind 24/7 allows your fears to overcome you. And those fears can cloud the signals that your body – that powerful communicator and receptor – sends you. So you need to be in the present and pay attention to your body’s sensations: tightness in the chest, goose bumps, odors, visions, etc. That’s your intuition! Don’t be afraid to make decisions that seem a little irrational from the outside, yet feel totally right on the inside.
- Stand up for your values (even at the risk of rejection). – Never compromise your values. Don’t let the fear of being rejected stop you from affirming what’s important to you. The right people will respect you more and hold you in higher regard if you’re rigorous about your principles, if you’re honest, and if you stay consistent about what you believe in. This is a powerful way to solidify your relationships and to gain mutual trust… Maybe not in the beginning, but in the long run. Furthermore, standing up for your values instantly makes you a leader, as it’s the most heroic quality one can aspire to.
- Speak your mind even if your voice shakes. – At times, you may think your word has no weight. But it does (regardless of how miniscule you may think it is). Your opinion will be an eye-opener for some people, and it will be a source of liberation for others. We all have an altruist nature buried within. We all want to help the people around us in some way. So instead of being stuck in your mind, ask yourself how your thoughts and words might help the ones around you, and focus on them instead of the ones you believe might judge you. Let people take you as you are, or not at all. By being yourself, you put something beautiful into the world that was not there before. And this helps everyone who’s worth helping (including YOU).
- Be willing to be vulnerable. – Nothing is wrong with telling someone else how you truly feel. Sharing something personal makes you stronger in people’s eyes, and most importantly in your own. Being able to show the real you when most people would rather hide behind a fake mask is an admirable quality. So don’t be ashamed to shed a tear. Being vulnerable only shows that you’re able to face the truth – even the hard truth – with dignity. Open yourself up. Allow yourself to feel, to be mindful and authentic. Tear down any emotional brick walls you have built around yourself and experience every exquisite emotion, both good and bad. This is real life.
- Be willing to be judged. – Don’t let fear of embarrassment stop you from trying something new. Sometimes we withhold ourselves from novelty because we’re afraid some people might call us silly or stupid. Shying away from trying something new stops your growth and your evolution. It stops you from acquiring new skills and knowledge. And life is a continuous school. Don’t miss out on opportunities to learn something enriching. If you think your new project might seem ridiculous to some people, turn those thoughts around in a funny or a disarming way, and go ahead and take the classes that interest you. And if people judge you for it, feel sorry for them, for simple minds are usually amused by simple things. (Read Daring Greatly.)
- Admit when you’re wrong. – You would think that pride is a positive emotion, but it’s not when it’s excessive. Excessive pride is a reaction to insecurity. So when you know you’re wrong, instead of trying to protect your self-esteem in the eyes of others, hold your tongue for two minutes, take a deep breath, and find the lesson. Consider the fact that being wrong is OK, and then admit that you are wrong. Yes, it’s hard. Yes, it takes strength to admit it, but it makes you more humble and commendable. And even more importantly, realize that when you’re wrong, you’re meant to be wrong so that you may outgrow the things you need to outgrow.
- End hurtful relationships. – One of the very hardest parts of loving someone: You have to give things up for them. And sometimes, you even have to give them up. Of course, it’s always difficult to let go of someone you care about (or cared about) without getting hurt in the process. Even if this person has hurt you a hundred times, you start thinking of all these what ifs – these maybes about the future. But that’s just the thing… there’s nothing concrete and reliable about these feelings and fantasies. The reality of their actions has disproven them. When someone shows you their true colors time and time again, it’s best to believe them and carry on without them. (Marc and Angel discuss this in more detail in the “Relationships” chapter of 1,000 Little Things Happy, Successful People Do Differently.)
- Forgive (even when you’ve been deeply hurt). – Forgiveness isn’t holding on to someone who hurt you; it’s coming to peace with what happened and moving forward with your life, one way or the other. Some of us have a tendency to hold grudges against people. We’re unable to let go of the past. But grudges are a toxic emotion – an emotion that can rot inside you and turn you into a bitter, egotistical zombie. Know that pain is short-lived. Emotional pain is a call to acknowledge it and address it, instead of letting it get the best of you. In fact, forgiveness is the sweetest revenge. If you can forgive someone who did you wrong, you’re at least one step ahead of them in the karma department, and one step ahead of everyone else who’s still holding on to old grudges that are holding them back.
Life is not about maintaining the status quo.
Life is not about playing it safe.
Life is not about standing still.
It’s about connecting with your soul, respecting your integrity, and telling yourself that you’re able. It’s about taking a few steps, regardless of how little they may be, so you can move forward, and evolve.
That’s why you were put here on this earth: to grow. You can be challenged, scared, and stretched to your limits, but taking action will make you feel gratified beyond belief.
And the best part is: You become more decisive, more playful, and more vigorous.
So don’t be afraid to let go of your inhibitions. Don’t be afraid to be disappointed. Don’t be afraid to get hurt.
Ask yourself about the costs and implications of not taking action. Then think of the new possibilities that could arise if you do dare to act.
Be daring and courageous!
Get moving and live it!
This is your one shot…
What would you add to the list? What’s something you’ve done that took a lot of courage (that you know you will never regret)? Leave a comment below and share your thoughts.
Author bio: Naïby Jacques is passionate about holistic health. As she’s also a vegan chef, she’s on a mission to help people add more plant foods to their diet by giving tips and tricks to make quick, easy, and delicious recipes so they can maintain the lifestyle permanently. Get her free 10 Snacks under 10 min that Are Actually Good for You.
Photo by: Jessica Neuwerth