How to Have the Courage to Grow

How to Have the Courage to Grow

The pursuit of happiness is a tricky one.

There’s no doubt some research suggests that self-development and attempts to improve promote happiness and wellbeing.

But there’s also research that suggests if we try too hard to be happy, especially if our expectations are unrealistic, it might make happiness more elusive.

So what do we do?

Well, in short, I definitely advocate for constant growth, but I also suggest that part of that growth is accepting unhappiness and other unpleasant experiences …

via Psychology Today by Marcia Reynolds


  • The brain prefers self-preservation to self-actualization, and it must be outsmarted.
  • It takes courage to explore the stories that direct someone’s everyday behavior.
  • Throughout the day, people should stop and ask what story has directed their current actions.
  • They can try on new stories, repeating the narratives until they feel they are real.

The courage to change

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Your brain is designed to keep you safe. This objective can help you escape physical danger without much thought. Yet your brain doesn’t differentiate physical from mental danger. It wants you to feel certain about the outcomes of your behavior instead of facing the danger of trying new things even when you know the outcomes are not ideal.

Author and psychotherapist Virginia Satir said, “People prefer the certainty of misery to the misery of uncertainty.” Your brain prefers self-preservation over self-actualization.

Why Emotions Overrule Logic

Most of the time, you give little thought to your daily routines. You spend your days living by old beliefs and repeating behaviors without question. These patterns become entrenched even when you consciously have a deep desire to change up your schedule. You may have overwhelming evidence that your behavior isn’t helping you reach your desires for the future, but you resist making positive changes, putting them off for later and rationalizing choices that stunt your personal growth. You may desperately want to achieve your goals, but your brain doesn’t want you to feel unsettled or afraid.

You not only avoid negative threats like possible failure or rejection. You may also avoid positive things like claiming your power or success.

Your brain isn’t just resistant to the discomfort of change; it is lazy. In his classic book, Thinking Fast and Slow, Nobel laureate Daniel Kahneman says it takes effort to think about your thinking.1 You don’t tend to question your decisions and actions before or after they are made. Even if you ask yourself why you did something, you are likely to quickly find a reason for your actions and move on to the next activity. Logic rarely comes into play when making routine decisions.

Unfortunately, it could take an accident or crisis to bring the truth of a situation to light. A damaging result can break down the walls of your defensive brain. You then look back and see the errors in your thinking. Hopefully, you commit to making a change based on what you learn from your mistakes before your memory overrides the pain and you return to the same-old unsatisfactory behavior.

Humans are master rationalizers regardless of the level of education achieved…

… keep reading the full & original article HERE