My wife Shelley and I recently watched The Zookeepers Wife, a true story about how the zookeepers of the Warsaw Zoo in Poland helped save hundreds of lives during World War II. Achieving such a heroic goal required tremendous courage.
After the Nazi’s bombed their zoo and invaded Poland, Antonina Zabinski and her husband Dr. Jan Zabinski turned their zoo into a way to work with the Resistance. They smuggled over 300 Jewish refugees out of the Warsaw ghetto, hiding them on their zoo grounds.
What stood out was the incredible courage it took to help so many people under threat of death. Achieving anything great requires bravery to venture into the unknown. That unknowing can stir up fear and doubt, leading us to feel stuck and unable to act.
Writing a book may not compare to hiding refugees in a war zone. However, it still takes courage to create. Additionally, it takes courage to share my words with the world. Moreover, it takes courage to risk mistakes and learn from critics. Furthermore, it takes courage to persist, writing each day without much feedback.
If you want to achieve your goals and dreams, you’ll need courage.
Here are 3 ideas to help summon bravery in daily life.
3 Ways to Be More Courageous Now
1. Focus on What You Can Control
When facing risks, redirect your energy to the task at hand. The Zabinskis bravely focused on helping each individual, using their zoo resources day by day to shelter refugees. They controlled what they could in the moment.
When writing, I also zero in on the work itself - the next word, the next idea. While I can't control readership or sales, I focus on improving my skills. By immersing myself in the writing process, self-doubt fades.
Fear thrives on uncertainty. But by focusing your energy on the small, controllable steps ahead, courage follows. Like the Zabinskis caring for refugees one day at a time, keep moving forward with what you can control now. Small actions defeat fear and help you achieve your goals.
2. Visualize Positive Outcomes
Fear often stems from the negative pictures we create in our minds. But when we imagine worst-case scenarios, we feel scared and nervous as our bodies prepare for fight or flight. Thoughts of failure can leave us doubting our capabilities to achieve goals.
On the other hand, envisioning positive outcomes makes us feel more empowered and able to take on challenges. In the film, the Zabinskis focused on saving lives rather than worrying about the risks of getting caught harboring refugees. They visualized helping people escape to freedom - their main goal.
When writing, I also avoid picturing critics judging my work. Instead, I visualize readers benefiting from my words, finding inspiration to live happier lives. - achieving my aims.
Moreover, mentally seeing ourselves succeeding gives us strength. Our bodies believe we can handle tough situations and become better equipped to do so. in summary, visualization is a powerful tool for summoning courage to achieve our goals.
3. Be Clear on What Your Purpose
Lack of clarity breeds fear and uncertainty. The Zabinskis faced grave dangers, but kept focused on their moral purpose - to save innocent lives - their unwavering goal. Their clarity of purpose gave them strength.
When writing, I also define my intention. My purpose is to inspire happier, more meaningful living through self-expression. Like the Zabinskis, who risked everything to secretly shelter refugees, I want my words to create a positive impact on my readers.
Though my risks may be smaller, achieving my goals as a writer still requires courage and focus. I aim to both share my passions and also support my family financially. Defining your purpose, as the Zabinskis did, provides the direction and meaning to push past fear and achieve your goals. In short, clarity of purpose cultivates courage.
In conclusion, courage is not something you possess. It is an action you take when you’re not feeling confident.
So, the next time you begin to feel less than courageous, remember the words of Christopher Robbin, “You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” Keep picturing your desires, focus on what’s controllable, and have clarity of purpose. You can achieve your goals!