Six types of courage

June 18, 2023

The 6 Types of Courage – And How To Develop Them. 

Ever encountered a spider in the bathroom and mustered up the guts to catch it and release it outside?

Or perhaps you’ve stood up to that know-it-all colleague during a team meeting?

Well, congratulations, you’ve been courageous! And in case you’re wondering, no, we’re not stretching the definition of courage here. Courage comes in different flavours, six of them in fact, and they might not all look like a superhero charging into a burning building.

Let’s dig into these six types of courage, and you might just find you’re more of a hero than you thought!

Physical Courage

Physical Courage: The Bravery of Body

First in our courageous line-up is physical bravery. This is your classic “strong-man” (or woman!) type of courage. It’s about facing fears of physical harm head-on, like wrestling that pesky spider or standing up to a schoolyard bully. Physical bravery isn’t just for action movie stars; it’s also for everyday heroes like you and me who occasionally have to face down physical fears, even if it’s just at the dentist’s office. 

Here are a few examples of how to practice Physical courage:

  1. Take a self-defence class: Learning how to protect yourself can be a great way to boost your physical courage.
  2. Participate in an extreme sport: Activities like rock climbing, bungee jumping, or white-water rafting can push your physical boundaries.
  3. Start a fitness routine: Pushing yourself to get in shape, especially if you’re not used to physical exertion, takes a lot of physical courage.
  4. Push your limits: Running is close to my heart and a brilliant way to push your physical courage. Don’t believe me? Try to run a marathon (or more). 
  5. Face a fear: If you’re scared of heights, try going to the top floor of a high building and looking out over the city.

The 6 Types of Courage - And How To Develop Them.  NUP 193644 6520

Social Courage: The Dare to Embarrass

Next up, we have social courage. Now, this doesn’t mean the courage to post a dancing video of yourself on social media (though, that too can require a fair share of bravery!). Social courage is the audacity to expose yourself to potentially embarrassing or uncomfortable social situations. Think of it like being the first to hit the dance floor at a party or expressing a contrarian viewpoint during a heated team discussion. It’s the courage to say, “I am here, hear me roar… or watch me fumble a bit.”

Wanna boost your social courage, try some of these: 

  1. Speak in public: Join a local Toastmasters club to practice speaking in front of others.
  2. Join a social club or group: This could be anything from a book club to a local sports team.
  3. Practice assertive communication: Stand up for yourself in a respectful way when you’re in a situation where you disagree with someone.
  4. Attend a networking event: Start conversations with strangers and make new connections.
  5. Stand up for someone else: If you see someone being treated unfairly, have the courage to speak out.

The 6 Types of Courage - And How To Develop Them.  Moral Courage

Moral Courage: The Valor of Virtue

Thirdly, moral courage. This is the kind of courage it takes to stand up for what you believe in, even if it’s unpopular. It’s the kind of courage that makes you say, “Sure, pineapple does belong on pizza, and I’m not afraid to say it!” Moral courage is about not compromising your values, even when you’re swimming against the tide. It’s the bravery to be the odd one out, the square peg in a world of round holes.

Here are a few tips how you can practice honouring your moral code:

  1. Speak out against injustice: When you see something wrong happening, voice your concern.
  2. Uphold your personal values: Resist peer pressure and make decisions that align with your beliefs.
  3. Advocate for a cause you believe in: Volunteer or donate to organizations that fight for causes you support.
  4. Be honest, even when it’s difficult: Telling the truth often requires a lot of moral courage.
  5. Apologize when you’re wrong: Accepting your mistakes and apologizing shows great moral courage.

Emotional Courage

Emotional Courage: The Heart’s Heroism

Fourth on our list is emotional courage. It’s the courage to feel, really feel, and let others in on those feelings. It’s the daring to wear your heart on your sleeve, knowing that it could be bruised. Emotional courage is like going on a first date and opening up about your love for collecting antique spoons. It’s about vulnerability, connection, and the boldness to say, “Yes, I do have feelings, and here they are in all their messy glory.”

Feeling like you need to practice your emotional boldness, here goes:

  1. Open up to someone: Share a fear or insecurity with a trusted friend or family member.
  2. Show empathy: Make a conscious effort to understand and share the feelings of another.
  3. Practice mindfulness: Become more aware of your emotions, accept them without judgment, and express them in healthy ways.
  4. Ask for help: Reaching out when you’re struggling can be a strong display of emotional courage.
  5. Accept a compliment: Instead of brushing it off, accept the compliment graciously.

The 6 Types of Courage - And How To Develop Them.  Intelectual courage

Intellectual Courage: The Bravery of the Brain

Intellectual courage is next, and boy, is this one a doozy in the age of information bubbles and cancel culture. This is the courage to learn, to change your mind, and to embrace the uncomfortable truth. It’s the bravery to say, “I was wrong,” or “I don’t know, but I’m willing to learn.” It’s the audacity to challenge your own beliefs and open yourself up to new ideas, even when it feels like your brain is running a marathon uphill.

To exercise your intellectual courage, try those: 

  1. Challenge your beliefs: Research an opposing viewpoint to your own on a controversial topic.
  2. Learn something new: Take a course or read a book on a topic you know little about.
  3. Admit when you don’t know something: Don’t pretend to know it all; instead, be open to learning from others.
  4. Practice critical thinking: Don’t just accept information at face value; analyze, question, and make your own conclusions.
  5. Engage in debates: Join a debate club or participate in online forums where respectful debates are encouraged.

The 6 Types of Courage - And How To Develop Them.  Spiritual courage

Spiritual Courage: The Power of Conviction

Last but not least, we have spiritual courage. No, this doesn’t necessarily mean going on a meditation retreat or joining a monastery. Spiritual courage is about asking the big, often unanswerable, questions about life, the universe, and everything in between. It’s about questioning, seeking, and daring to dive deep into the mysteries of existence, whether you’re religious, agnostic, or anywhere in between. 

If you want to stretch your spiritual courage, here are few ideas:

  1. Meditate: Use meditation to explore your inner self and spiritual beliefs.
  2. Practice self-reflection: Regularly take time to reflect on your life, your purpose, and your beliefs.
  3. Engage with different beliefs: Attend a religious service different from your own or read about different spiritual practices.
  4. Ask big questions: Don’t shy away from pondering life’s big questions, such as the meaning of life or the concept of death.
  5. Practice mindfulness: Mindfulness can help you stay connected to your spiritual side by keeping you focused on the present moment.

In the end, understanding these six types of courage isn’t about slapping labels on your actions or over-analyzing every decision you make. It’s about recognizing that courage comes in different forms, and it’s not always about performing grand heroic feats. Sometimes, it’s about standing up for what you believe in, being emotionally open, or challenging your own perspectives. 

So, the next time you’re facing a challenging situation, ask yourself: which type of courage do I need to summon right now? And remember, whether you’re wrestling with a philosophical question or an actual spider, it’s all courage, my friend. 

Remember, courage isn’t just for the daring and the bold. 

It’s for everyone who’s willing to face fears, question assumptions, and step outside their comfort zone. We all have these six types of courage within us. It’s just a matter of digging deep, harnessing them, and bravely facing whatever life throws our way. 

Be it the physical courage to deal with tangible threats, the social courage to navigate through potentially embarrassing situations, the moral courage to uphold your values, the emotional courage to open up, the intellectual courage to embrace new ideas, or the spiritual courage to question life’s mysteries — it’s all in there. 

So the next time you find yourself hesitating, remember the courageous six, and take that leap. The world needs your courage, in whichever form it may come.

If you’d like my coaching support in developing your courage, contact me
and let’s see if we’d be a good match.

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