I have mentioned in previous posts that I subscribe to the idea that:
A man’s ordinary life at peace reflects his courage or cowardice just like a mirror…Having the least bit of spare time, he will put his mind to Learning, and not be negligent in his practice of the martial arts…He will protect his health fully and will keep in mind the desire to perform at least once in his life a great meritorious deed.
It’s my opinion that a person should, on occasion, test themselves. Large, life altering tests are not as necessary as frequent, smaller tests. These “little tests” can be as simple as; speaking up when you see something wrong, being the person who takes the lead when it’s obvious that everybody else is looking for someone to make the first move, making a public speech, etc.
In this day and age there are also many opportunities to test your “gut” in a relatively safe manner. There are numerous adventure and X-sport opportunities out there to test your mettle; rock climbing gyms, skydiving schools, SCUBA courses, etc. I recently had the opportunity to do a high angle “adventure” course. You may have seen them, cargo net climbs, wire/plank bridges between elevated platforms, zip lines.
Now, I’m not claiming that doing stuff like this is somehow going to guarantee that you will perform well under stress, or make you magically courageous (my daughter and niece went on this course with me btw) but any opportunity to associate that little twinge of fear with fun is an opportunity that you can use to prove to yourself that you CAN override fear and do what needs to be done.
I look at opportunities like this as a chance to “practice” those things that you don’t/cant practice by shooting at targets or even by trading simunitions with another living person. There is no (or very little) pushing past actual fear in a lot of tactical/weapon training, you get to fantasize about what you “would do” in real life, but it’s still just training. There is a reason why most military boot camps run their recruits through “confidence courses” and obstacle courses…and it isn’t to train them to perform common soldier tasks.
What I found interesting in this latest excursion was the ratio of young people to adults. It’s somewhat amusing how many parents will let their kids do the course but will pass on doing it themselves. Granted, youth has long been known to be more adventurous, but where is the line between adventure and the over-cautiousness of adulthood?