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Old 04-16-2010, 06:39 PM   #24
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Dojo: Aikido of Northern Virginia
Location: Stuttgart, Baden Wurttemberg
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 4,376
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Re: Developing courage

Well I think it depends on the task or process. Most crisis oriented task have a certain amount of physicality to them, if it is doing CPR on a heart attack victim, entering a burning building, or what not. As Mary pointed out above, these things are definable by a process, and the steps are typically well codified.

So, I think that for most things it is both a mental and physical thing. You do the task over and over until it become muscle memory.

For example I jump out of military aircraft in the middle of the night. It scares me. Always has, always will. However, through training and following the process of the operation, I can take "baby steps" through each jump and it allows me to subjugate the fear. I am afraid and I have that pit in my stomach that says no, but I go through the steps/ritual and do it anyway as a matter of muscle memory and habit.

At the base level I have to turn myself over to the process and there is a great deal of trust that is involved. I suppose you could call in confidence, but I don't think so. I am never confident. If I where I think I would not have fear. No, I am afraid that something will go wrong. I will forget to do something, or get caught, land in a tree, chute won't open etc.

However, I have trust having done this before, and having others go before me that it will somehow be okay. My rigger packed my chute right, my jumpmaster has us over the drop zone, the winds are good, and I don't get tangled up...it happens, but at some point, you have to let go of all those "what ifs" and simply go through the process.

Maybe semantics between confidence and trust, but I personally think there is a difference.

BTW, ego plays a part in this process of courage as well. We sometimes talk as if ego is a bad thing. I don't think it is always. Ego can help get us through a difficult point.

I had a young soldier tell me on a jump that he was afraid to go out the door. I told him so was I, but what I was more afraid of not doing it and having all my fellow team member think I was a wimp!

That is pure ego and it can help get us through things we might not like.

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