Courage is a Skill

Oceans

It’s pretty amazing how quickly our minds will learn things when we throw ourselves into a new situation. I have three ongoing projects right now; an urban exploration project, a documentary, and planning for a 2016 microexpedition. I have never done any of these things before in the same capacity that I am doing them now. This is aside from having a day job, and family.
I think about all of these projects constantly. I am surprised at this point that my mind is doing fairly well keeping them compartmentalized. At this point in my life, everything feels extremely fulfilling. I am not sure I have ever felt so content. Small things, like finances and daily stress don’t bother me as much as they used to. Everything just feels like a challenge, a puzzle. Whereas before, It was constant worry, now I think to myself “right, now how can I accomplish X, Y, and Z with what I have right here, right now.” It is a feeling of freedom.

Don’t get me wrong, I still worry. As a person who lives with anxiety, constant worry is a daily struggle. However, I feel that it is more manageable. I have this new tool…It might be confidence, I don’t know. I have never had much of that, so I am not quite sure what it feels like…maybe it is just this momentum I have from doing so much. My brain and body just tell me to keep going, and that spills over into other aspects of my life. I am not sure I care what it is enough to continue analyzing it. I just know that it is making me a stronger person. A happier person.

I am learning that challenges, exciting and worth while challenges, are a necessity in

life. They enrich us and urge us to bebetter. They dare us to take positive risks and to view the world in a different way. These are the kinds of things that parents read in magazines and online, “risk-taking improves your child’s confidence.” There is also evidence of the benefits of risk-taking in teens. It shouldn’t stop here.

For some reason, we have this idea that, as adults, we have stagnated. We no longer need to learn and grow and develop. This could not be further from the truth. Throughout our lives we need to grow and develop and have new experiences. As a 31 year-old wife, mother and kid-at-heart, I don’t have the world figured out…I don’t even have myself figured out. So, why should I stop trying? On the contrary, it is a part of my nature to be curious…really curious. I like to do things that many other people won’t to satisfy my curiosity. I don’t think that will ever go away. I hope it doesn’t. It is one of my favorite things about myself. It makes me proud and leads me toward knowledge, discovery and new experiences.

I think we should challenge ourselves more often, take risks, experience new things, throw ourselves into new situations and scramble to adapt. It is good for us, it makes our minds more flexible and builds confidence. Start small. I hear other risk takers say this all the time. Some ideas: Paint your room a bold color, train yourself to take on a physical or mental challenge you have not yet accomplished, randomly jump into a lake or pond (seriously, just go for it), read a book you would not normally choose, Go off the grid for a day. Whatever you can think to do that is outside your comfort zone, do it. Courage is a skill.

All Images: copyright: Catherine Carter

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