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Life & Philosophy

Choose Courage. Living The Courageous Life

Know what your values are because these are the traits that set rules and standards in your life

Photo by Loic Leray on Unsplash

There is one thing I know for sure and that is the very thing I want to talk about today and continue talking in years to come. Live your best life, despite your age, gender, geographical location and social status – never to hold back; live your full-life – live courageously. Living courageously is something that requires a lot of grit, befriending your own fears, embracing your own insecurities and loving yourself unconditionally.  

Contrary to belief, living courageously has got nothing to do with being richer, stronger or tougher than the next person or having no fears, whatsoever. Rather, living courageously is one that allows you to be the person who you always wanted to be, setting your own rules and living life in your own terms.

When we look up the word courage on the dictionary, the meaning reflected is that of an ability to do something that frightens one. In essence, living a courageous life is one, despite worries, adversity or disapproval, the craved life is made a reality.

I am someone who always seeks difference in life; and believe me, it does require lots of courage. Coming from the beautiful island of cosmopolitan Singapore, there are plenty of rules and paths that have been set up for one, for what is deemed as a successful future. While this works for many, plenty others walk their journey in despair because their full potential was not met; they are coerced to do something which does not set their soul on fire. It has been proven time and again – living a less courageous life kills spontaneity and most of all, creativity. It is no coincidence that the word ‘courage’ in latin is ‘coeur’ which translates to ‘heart’.

~ Courage is a habit, a virtue. You get it by courageous acts. It’s like you learn to swim by swimming. You learn courage by couraging ~ 

Brene Brown

One thing you can do to keep yourself in the state of courage is to keep track of when your body or senses stop you from doing something you want to do, but you go ahead and do it anyway. Over time, you’ll start noticing that you do this most of the time without realising; that you are more courageous than you think. This is so true for an introvert who needs to be standing in front of the conference room to give a presentation.

While the easiest way out is perhaps to feign a cold or tummy-ache, our introverted friend went ahead and gave a good show. A fan of lists, I keep a list of the things that I went ahead and did despite my fears or insecurity. Looking back, it makes me realise what I am capable of and this process itself creates a good feeling which makes me want to explore into the next thing I am currently feeling fearful about.  

Know what your values are because these are the traits that set rules and standards in your life; they ensure that you live in the best version of yourself. It is important to know your values and live by them because not doing so will result in unhappiness; you are breaking your own values and that is self-rejection. We all know self-rejection hurts.

Sieving out negative signals and keeping positive ones is the next thing you can introduce in your day-to-day living. While many of us have negativity bias, the one that makes us zoom into anything disapproving, the opposite is not too far-fetched. Look for the good in everything because the evil will hamper and dampen your spirits. Watch uplifting videos, listen to motivating podcasts, be in the company of happy, positive people; these keep you in a high positive vibe most of the time because not only that good feeling will propel you into the right direction, it will also make you see things in a different light. Suddenly everything is within grasp – everything seems possible and that is the kind of feeling you want to be drenched in.

If there is one thing many that I have spoken with confess to, is the inability to accept vulnerability. What is vulnerability? It is nothing more than the state of being exposed to the possibility of being attacked or harmed either physically or emotionally. Now, our life is never going to be black or white throughout; at any given time, something might happen – the good, the bad or the ugly. People who live their lives in fear-based situations often have little or no confidence. Open-up and accept your vulnerability. It is perfectly alright to be vulnerable; even the happiest or capable person has moments of vulnerability. 

I once read an article about the singer, songwriter, rapper and actress, Kesha. She cried in front of a room full of journalists at a London playback for her latest album at that time. Initially, Kesha apologised but she very quickly picked herself up and said, “I’m not actually sorry, because that’s what this record is about — being vulnerable. This is what I am.” To that, I give Kesha a standing ovation!

There is no such thing as failure as you move from experience to experience. They only mature you, make you realise how capable you are and help you see the possibility of what is out there when you try new things while putting your values alongside whatever you do. As you do all these, your courage will flourish and over time, you will see you have achieved more than what you thought possible.

So, go live in that country you have always wanted to live in, travel the world, start that business or even propose to the girl or guy you want to be with – all these are acts of courage, which requires lots of grit but hey, if you do not venture into those unknown, how will you ever know what life is like on the other side!

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Zu Anjalika Kamis Gunnulfsen is a certified Image Branding & Lifestyle Consultant. Born in Singapore and blessed to have lived in a couple of other amazing cities in the world, Anjalika is currently expatriating in Kuala Lumpur. Follow her on LinkedIn and Instagram.

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