One simple method to become inspired and courageous

One of my favourite snippets of movie-dialogue is this one from the 1999 film Three Kings.

In this scene Major Archie Gates (George Clooney) wants the small team to save a fellow soldier and steal Saddam’s gold just after the war in Kuwait has ended.

The young soldier Conrad Vig (Spike Jonze) has his doubts about the plan:

Archie Gates: You’re scared, right?
Conrad Vig: Maybe.
Archie Gates: The way it works is, you do the thing you’re scared shitless of, and you get the courage AFTER you do it, not before you do it.
Conrad Vig: That’s a dumbass way to work. It should be the other way around.
Archie Gates: I know. That’s the way it works.

I think many things in life works just about like that. Of course, watching other movies, reading the paper and books or watching our favourite sit-com for a couple of decades conditions us to think it’s the other way around.

Someone does something because they are simply courageous.
Someone creates something awesome because they are just that inspired.

That certainly happens. But I think it’s often better not to wait for that perfect day or moment when you feel courageous or inspired as such times can come sporadically to say the least. It’s better and more effective to just get going. But it can seem as a lot harder.

Often, though, it only feels really hard and difficult before you start and during the first few minutes. Once you confront what you have to do then the tension releases, melts away and the inspiration or courage starts to seep in.

I have often had troubles getting going with writing a blogpost these last few months. I procrastinate by surfing aimlessly, checking the Pavlina forums, optimizing functions on the blog and checking my email. I like writing and sometimes I feel inspired and almost pounce on my chair to start tapping the keys. But many times I have a hard time getting started and being as productive as I could be.

It’s pretty much the same thing with times I when have had to be courageous. It’s like in Three Kings – but seldom as scary or dangerous though.

But you have force yourself and when you’re get going (or in some instances, when you are done) you get the courage you would wished for before you started. When it comes to these kinds of situations I find it easier to get going by simply not thinking to much about what you are about to do. Over analysis can, and will often, create a hell of a lot more fear in your mind than the situation warrants for.

So, I’ve started to give up waiting. When it comes to inspiration I just force myself to sit down and open one of the couple of dozen ideas for an article I have laying around. And lo and behold, after a few minutes words just starts pouring out of my fingers. And as a bonus a few ideas for other posts always start popping up in my head.

So, if you want to get some inspiration or courage, just force yourself to get started (something that I’d like to add gets easier every time you try it). It might not be sexy, cool, complicated or just like in – most of the – movies you’ve seen. But it works.

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About the Author

Henrik Edberg is the creator of the Positivity Blog and has written weekly articles here since 2006. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Gothenburg and has been featured on Lifehacker, HuffPost and Paulo Coelho’s blog. Click here to learn more…

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Thank you. And I´m glad to have inspired you.

  • I think there’s many different theories on courage and bravery. One that comes to me is that courage is the difference between the confidence you have and the confidence you need.

    Doctor Paul considers courage to be “doing the right thing” – taken from the movie ‘Saving Private Ryan’.

    Courage is only required when you’ve an emotional attachment to the outcome. I understand it’s not possible to be unattached 100% of the time but it is possible in so many situations to be committed without being attached.

    Lots of love,

  • Colm: Thanks for the comment. I agree that when it´s possible then it´s a great solution to stay commited but not attached to side-step the whole courage-problem.