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“Begin, be bold and venture to be wise.”
If you're shy, hesitant, or passive, you run the risk of leading a boring life marked by routine and unfulfilled goals. Most progress has been led by people who were bold–scientists, political servants, artists, and others who didn't wait for opportunities; they created opportunities. So if you want to be bold and unstoppable, here are some ways to kick start your momentum.
1. Pretend you're already bold.
If you were to switch places with somebody who is as bold as bold can be, what would they do in your shoes? If you already know someone who's bold, imagine how they'd act. If you don't know anyone like that, think of a character from a movie or book who's daring and brave. Spend one hour a day or one day a week pretending to be them.
When you do this, go somewhere that people don't know you and won't act surprised when you do things that are out of character. Go through the motions and see what happens — you might discover that amazing things happen when you're bold, and you might be convinced to carry this bold behavior into your everyday life.
2. Make the first move.
Whenever you're feeling hesitant–especially in your interactions with others–swallow your pride and make the first move. Ask your acquaintance if they'd like to go to the bar down the street for drinks after work. Tell the person you fancy that you've got two tickets to a concert and you'd like them to come with you. Give your significant other a big hug and apologize for that time you overreacted a few months ago. Smile and wink at the attractive cashier.
3. Do something unpredictable.
What could you do that would completely surprise the people who know you? Wear high heels? Skydive? Take a dance class? Bold people aren't afraid of trying new things, and one of the reasons they're so exciting to be around is that they keep you guessing.
You can start small, perhaps by wearing a color or style of clothing that you don't normally wear, or visiting a place you normally wouldn't visit. Eventually, you may get to the point where you entertain ideas that make other people's eyes widen when you mention them (“Are you serious? White water rafting?” or “You're kidding me. You want to buy that restaurant on 3rd Street?”).
4. Ask for what you want.
Rather than wait to be recognized for your efforts, or expect someone to consider your needs, step right up to the plate and ask.
Some people feel that asking for things is greedy, selfish, and rude — and it is, if you're asking for something you don't deserve. But if someone is withholding something that you've rightfully earned, they're the ones being greedy, selfish, and rude.
Besides, what's the worst that could happen? They say no. Life goes on.
- Ask for that promotion or pay raise you've been waiting (and working) for.
- Ask for a discount. A little haggling can go a long way. The phrase “What can you do for me?” is an easy and powerful way to save money.
- Ask to have your credit card's annual fee waived.
- Ask a relative, friend, or even a complete stranger for help or advice.
- Ask for clarification if you're not sure what is expected of you.
5. Take risks.
There's a difference between being reckless and accepting risks. Reckless people don't accept risks… they don't even think about them. A bold person, on the other hand, is well aware of the risks, and has decided to go through with the decision anyway, ready and willing to accept the consequences if things don't work out.
Think of an athlete who takes risks every day. Are they reckless? No. It's a measured risk. You might make a mistake; we all do. But inaction can be a mistake as well, one that leads to emptiness and regret. For many people, having taken risks and fallen flat on their faces was far more fulfilling than having done nothing at all.
Likewise, don't confuse being bold with being aggressive. Aggressiveness often involves imposing your viewpoints or actions on others. Boldness has nothing to do with the people around you; it's about overcoming your fears and taking action.
Remember that while there's power in taking on something new, there's also a greater chance of failure because of your lack of experience. Embrace the failure; it's not the opposite of success, it's a necessary component. The opposite of success is sitting still.
6. Rediscover who you are.
Ultimately, boldness has to do with coming from your center, what you believe. It is not about what you do, it is about who you are. If you do not know who you are, you can never be truly bold.
Start really appreciating your uniqueness. Discover what makes you different and then parade it around for all to see. Put flags on it, call attention to it and love yourself for it no matter what others think. That is the heart of boldness.
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