High Performance Habits: #6 Demonstrate Courage 1 (part 15 of 22)



Many Kinds of Courage

It’s useful to have a look at the different kinds of courage so we can think through them.

  • There’s physical courage, when you put yourself in harm’s way to meet a noble goal.
  • Moral courage is speaking up for others or enduring hardship for what you believe is right, to serve the greater good.
  • Psychological courage is the act of facing or overcoming your own anxieties, insecurities, and mental fears.
  • Everyday courage could mean keeping a positive attitude or taking action despite great uncertainty, bad health, or hardship

While none of these types of courage are definitive or mutually exclusive, the terms are useful in conceptualizing courage.

The important thing is that you define what being more courageous means to you, and start living that way. … You are capable of remarkable things that you could never foretell and will ever discover without taking action.

If your future best self – a version of you ten years older, who is even stronger, more capable, and more successful than you imagined yourself to be – showed up on your doorstep today and looked at your current circumstances, what courageous action would that future self advise you to take right away to change your life? How would your future self tell you to live?


Practice One: Honor the Struggle

If we’re ever going to develop the strength that courage requires, we’ll have to get better at dealing with life’s basic challenges. We’ll ave to stop getting so annoyed and start seeing the struggle as part of growing our character. We must learn to honor the struggle.

We’re surrounded by memes and media an influencers telling us we’re not supposed to struggle, that life should just be an easy flow or we’re on the wrong track. Imagine what that’s doing to our abilities. Imagine what that is doing to our odds of ever taking courageous action.

If we keep telling people to do what’s easy, why would they ever think to do what’s hard? 

The good news is, I think people worldwide are discovering that all these quick fixes, hacks, and silver bullets aren’t enough. People are beginning to remember something they knew already: To achieve excellence requires hard work, discipline, routines that can become boring, the continual frustrations that accompany learning, adversities that test every measure of our heart and soul, and, above all, courage. i hop the research in this book has helped you discover a bigger picture: that high performance requires real intention and the mastering of complex habits.  The practices here are doable, but they will still require focus, struggle, and faithful diligence over the long haul.

When we learn to see struggle as necessary, important, and positive part of our journey, then we can find true peace and personal power. 

The alternative, of course, is crippling. Those who hate the struggle, or fear it, end up complaining, losing motivation, and quitting.

If you are unwilling to anticipate or endure the inevitable struggle, mistakes, messes, and difficulties of life, then it’s a rough road. Without courage, you’ll feel less confident, happy, and successful. The data confirms it.

The two human stories

There are only two narratives in the human story: struggle and progress. And you can’t have the latter without the former. … We accept that struggle will either destroy us or develop us, and the hardest of human truths is that, ultimately, it’s our choice. No matter how difficult it gets, the next step is still your choice. For that, let’s be thankful.

The struggle I’m now facing is necessary, and it’s summoning me to show up, be strong, and use it to forge a better future for myself and my loved ones.

I’ll end this section with [a saying] that my students find helpful. I learned [it] from working with members of the US Army Special Forces. They told me about a common maxim they use to help people realize they must deal with the hardships of service: Embrace the suck. Sometimes, doing your duty sucks. Training sucks. Patrol sucks. The weather sucks. Circumstances suck. But you can’t just avoid them or be bitter. You have to deal with it, face it, and will yourself to persevere and rise. You have to embrace the suck. If there’s one thing I respect most about he military, it’s how little complaining there is. Complaining isn’t respected or perpetuated. That inspires me. In any area of your life, if you have the opportunity and blessing to serve, you don’t complain about the effort involved.


  1. A struggle I’ve been facing in my life is …
  2. The way I could change my view of this struggle is …
  3. If something great could come from this struggle, it would be …
  4. The way I choose to greet life’s inevitable hardships from today forward is …