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Bravery and Courage: How to overcome fear and social anxiety

The videos I’ve been putting out the last few weeks are all excerpts from one overall conversation about bravery.

In this podcast, I break down the different elements of courage to give you ideas on how you can apply this to your life to give yourself more opportunities and increase your self confidence.

In this episode, we cover:

Bravery is not the absence of fear: understanding that courage is wisdom rather than strength

Fear mongering: identifying and resisting the manipulative tactics fear uses.

Courage to be disliked: facing social anxiety and caring what people think of you.

Confidence vs arrogance: how to build courage without becoming a jerk.

Confidence quotes: short questions and statements that will boost your daily bravery in a practical way.

 


 

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Show notes:

Bravery and Courage: How to overcome fear and social anxiety

  • Confidence is basically outwitting irrational fear and insecurities
  • In this podcast we’ll look at how to be smarter than irrational fear

Bravery is not the absence of fear

  • Fearless is impossible / psychopathic
  • Fearless is dangerous – Urbach-Wiethe disease
  • Most people see bravery as a strength or force
  • But more helpful is seeing it as an intelligence
  • Fear is either helpful or unhelpful (e.g. lion vs asking a girl out)
  • Fear is not interested in safety, just familiarity
  • When familiar is bad to wellbeing, you must override fear
  • Bravery is taking an action whilst feeling fear sensations, and increasing them
  • However, bravery is also the mental process of reducing fear sensations through rational unpacking of irrational insecurity
  • The simplest trick – reduce the size of the task to the highest tolerable level of discomfort
  • Bravery doesn’t require terror, just discomfort – that’s progress, no one hit wonder
  • Incremental increases – desensitization through exposure – leads to bolder behaviour
  • E.g. just apply for a few jobs; smile and make eye contact with strangers; go to gym with no workout plan pressure
  • Walking meditation
  • Think of bravery as being your ability to desensitize yourself to uncomfortable change

Fear mongering

  • Fear helpful v unhelpful – latter is irrational re quality of life
  • Fear feels like it controls you with force, but it actually uses manipulation
  • GOT – power is shadows on the wall
  • When you can see past this manipulation and outmaneuver it, you’ll be free
  • Main tactic is DELAY to maintain familiarity
  • Everest Effect / false encouragement – quantum parts courage
  • Avalanche Threat – isolated no-obligation experiments
  • Catastrophizing / What if? simulations – thought stop technique
  • Rewarding promises with exemptions – earn rewards through action only
  • Repetition compulsion – failure requires at least slight change rule
  • Vicarious trauma – note differences and make attempts based on vicarious wisdom
  • Undermine past to remove self-trust – pessimistic measurement, cherry picked evidence – accurate journalling
  • Research hole – 3X model
  • Time sink distractions, treating to do list as equal value, low hanging fruit – big ugly frog, 80/20
  • Overall, any reason to delay healthy action should be viewed with MASSIVE suspicion, and at least a tiny action should be taken immediately

Courage to be disliked

  • Top fears are social, relating to abandonment, ostracism, humiliation and embarrassment, violence etc.
  • Fear reverse-engineers these outcomes to assume that disapproval is the cause
  • Being disliked is seen as the greatest threat – emotions to avoid are the disses – disapproval, disappointment, disgust, disagreement etc.
  • It’s painful to acknowledge how much of what you do is motivated solely by desire to avoid dislike – your whole career and social circle might entirely revolve around this fear
  • If you can accept and tolerate the risk (and actual occurrence) of being disliked, your opportunities multiply 1000 fold
  • There is no greater fear to overcome for quality of life
  • Notice the link your mind makes, where dislike = harm/bad – challenge: is this true?
  • When someone feels one of the disses, what actually happens? Does it always result in total abandonment? Do relationships survive? Do you die or get injured?
  • Have you ever been disliked by someone who you NEED and would be a good fit?
  • If only 0.1% of the world liked you, it amounts to 75,000 people. Do you even have time for that many people?
  • Notice your real fear is the in-the-moment discomfort of conflict – but why are you afraid of those feelings? Can you not endure them?
  • Start small – being a bit more disagreeable, showing more true opinions – show the disses yourself, you’re probably as afraid of rejecting as rejection
  • Choose one person you are sure you’re ok with disliking you, and commit to being fully honest with them when you get the chance
  • Express preferences and don’t try to manage their reactions (no qualifying)
  • Stop apologising for anything – either fix it or leave it

Confidence vs arrogance

  • Weird barrier to bravery is people worry about being “too” confident
  • This is just the fear of social judgment disguising itself as a noble attempt at humility
  • But arrogance is not confidence, it’s a manifestation of the fear of being wrong
  • The key difference is around comparison to others: arrogant people think of themselves as better; confident people don’t compare at all
  • Arrogance is a state of insecure fear, not fearlessness, a defensive position to protect a fragile ego identity
  • You can see evidence when an arrogant person is challenged and their sore spot is touched – they become vicious
  • They try to take people down rather than have a healthy debate
  • They don’t admit to being wrong
  • They only compete where they can win
  • They lack humility and respect
  • Confident people with high bravery are basically the opposite
  • They respect others opinions and are open to having their mind changed (but only with greater evidence)
  • They are humble about the lack of skills or knowledge and have no shame in admitting their limitations, but they don’t apologise for their natural state
  • They only compete against tough opponents, and would withdraw rather than squash a lesser 
  • They live and let live
  • They only measure their behaviour against their values – other people’s behaviour is either inspiration or lessons, but not a measurement system
  • You can’t be too brave or shameless – confidence is not competence, humility is confident

Confidence quotes

  • Some memes that will help you boost your confidence and courage in any given moment
  • Questions 
  • “What would a confident guy do right now?”
  • “What’s the smallest and most realistic version of this task that I could attempt today?”
  • “What action would I be proud of myself for tomorrow?”
  • “Is this fear rational or imagined?”
  • “Which of these options is the least comfortable and therefore the most beneficial?”
  • Statements
  • This too shall pass
  • This is no worse than anything I’ve survived before
  • Just show up and participate as long as you can, then you’re free to leave
  • Just start moving
  • I won’t die… I won’t even be injured… I can always run away
  • Let’s just see what happens
  • I’ll be proud of myself after
  • This is better than a lifetime of cowardice

 

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