Face Your Fears with Courage

As a kid, I always thought the word ‘courage’ was reserved for people I read about in history class. The concept of courage – an individual’s choice to face uncertainty despite the fear that accompanies it – felt preserved for individuals who faced challenges far beyond my own life. In contrast, I considered my ability to create change in the world, and in my own life, limited based on where I lived and the resources readily available to me. Surely, I was not a courageous person by these standards.

While researching for an introductory English class in my freshman year of college, I stumbled upon a quote from the novelist Anais Nin: “Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.”

These words shaped my approach to life and opened doors of opportunity I never thought possible. Her simple but profound words prompted a new perspective and approach to life, and I understood courage was not an action only reserved for the people I read about in history class. As Nin says, an individual’s life is not stagnant but malleable based on our actions. I realized courage could be applied every single day. I recognized every single person faces uncertain and scary situations and decisions. Regardless of the magnitude of the problems or decisions, a person’s ability to face their fears head-on is courageous. When a person intentionally faces life with courage, despite the anxieties about failing, the opportunities to inspire change in their own life and the world will only continue to expand.

I entered college with confidence to approach life with courage in every situation. I finally understood success in life is only limited by your perspective and ability to face your fears.