You’ve probably heard the expression: Courage isn’t the absence of fear; it’s taking action despite that fear.
On the one hand, that’s good advice. You shouldn’t use the presence of fear as an excuse to do nothing.
On the other hand…?
If you listen to interviews of people who took action and survived a dangerous situation – people like cops, soldiers or firefighters – you notice a pattern. These people, who no one would deny are brave, don’t describe what they did as “acting in the face of fear”.
Well, some of them might.
But there’s a deeper pattern, one they all demonstrate.
For many of them, they realise they’re in danger. The fear rises, maybe even enough to paralyse them for a moment.
Then they realise what they need to survive and simply do it.
Is that action despite fear?
Kinda, but not really.
It’s action driven by purpose. Their purpose – to survive – overrides everything else, including the fear. That’s how most of them describe it: once they know what to do, they feel eerily calm and focused.
If they paid any attention to their fears… well, they wouldn’t be focused on survival.
With an iron-strong purpose, though, you can’t focus on anything else.
Maybe your purpose isn’t to get out of this burning building. Maybe it’s to build a business, earn a degree or be a better parent. Once you tap into it, you develop the same level of focus.
So getting distracted by fear, pain or anything else.
Your mind automatically becomes more disciplined.
Here’s how you train it to become even moreso: