The Courage QuotientHow Science Can Make You Braver
The keys to understanding and developing courage This groundbreaking book reveals that courage is more about managing fear than not feeling it, and that courage can be learned. The author explains that most courageous people are unaware of their own bravery, and all of us have some form of courage in our lives now, to start with. The book is filled with illustrative examples, studies, and interviews from Greenland to Kenya, and defines the types of individuals who demonstrate general, personal, and civil courage. The author includes clear guidelines and suggestions for increasing our ability to be courageous. Includes guidelines that show how anyone can ramp-up their courage quotient and develop the qualities that strengthen personal courage Contains a wealth of examples and anecdotes of real-world courage from a variety of cultures A prolific writer, the author has a popular blog Psychology Today The author extols the virtues of personal courage and shows how to overcome fear and stand up for what is right.
Introduction: How I Found Courage ix part 1 a crash course in courage 1 Your Courage Quotient 3 2 Measuring Courage 25 part 2 increasing courage by controlling fear 3 Ride the Emotional See-Saw 41 4 Think Magically 67 part 3 increasing courage by boosting the willingness to act 5 Try Defiance 87 6 Be Out of the ‘‘In Crowd’’ 107 7 Be Willing to Fail 121 part 4 conclusion 8 From the Research Laboratory to Real Life 139 Appendix I: Test Your Courage Quotient 151 Appendix II: Locate Your Own Brand of Courage 157 References 159 Acknowledgments 169 About the Author 171 Index 173
Dr. Robert Biswas-Diener is widely known as the "Indiana Jones of positive psychology" because his research has taken him to such far-flung places as Greenland, India, Kenya, and Israel. The foremost authority on positive psychology coaching, he is managing director of Positive Acorn LLC (www.positiveacorn.com). His work has been featured in Time, Newsweek, O!, Vogue, Reader's Digest, and on NPR. Biswas-Diener lives in Portland, Oregon, with his wife and children. He is afraid of quicksand and snakes.
Scientific studies confirm what most of us have suspected all along: that those who are bold enough to go after what they want enjoy greater success and happiness. Most of us think of courage as something that "you're either born with or you're not." But as Dr. Robert Biswas-Diener demonstrates in this illuminating and practical new book, most of us are more courageous than we realize—and bravery can be learned. Biswas-Diener begins with the premise that courage is more about managing fear than not feeling it. As he shows, all of us display some form of bravery in our daily lives (in fact, studies reveal that women exhibit courage in higher numbers than men). He then goes on to describe the different types of people who demonstrate bravery, from general and individual courage to civil courage. Drawing on original research and his interviews with individuals from across the globe, Biswas-Diener helps readers raise their own "courage quotient," offering proven strategies to manage fear and boost the willingness to act. This fascinating book shows how courage is viewed differently in various cultures, from Japan and Norway to Africa and Israel, and provides a wealth of compelling anecdotes that inspire personal insights for readers. Throughout the book, the author introduces concepts such as "courage blindness" and "personal courage" and puts the focus on the importance of magical thinking—as well as failure—in the bravery process. Readers will discover how to increase courage in their own personal lives (overcoming private fears like standing up to a bully or speaking up in a college lecture course) as well as in the public realm (standing up for what is right in the "face of fire," speaking truth to power, and taking appropriate financial risk).
Praise for The Courage Quotient "Robert Biswas-Diener represents the great promise of modern-day exploration. As a trained scientist, he travels the world not to bring us yet another mundane geographical 'first' but rather studied insights that illuminate the human condition. In this book, he fuses the history and science of courage with a worldwide exploration of the topic to distill a consummately useful handbook on the topic. It belongs on the bookshelves of companies seeking to cultivate more courageous employees, of parents who'd like to see smarter, braver kids, and indeed, of anyone wanting to understand and unleash their own inner courage."—Dan Buettner, fellow, National Geographic; New York Times best-selling author, The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer from the People Who've Lived the Longest "A rare combination of rigorous scholarship and easy-to-follow recommendations, The Courage Quotient helps readers understand and cultivate one of the most understudied and underdeveloped virtues—courage. Robert Biswas-Diener's writing is witty, intelligent, accessible; you feel that you are sitting right there with him, having a fun and fascinating conversation about the causes, antecedents, and consequences of acting courageously and overcoming your fears."—Sonja Lyubomirsky, PhD, professor of psychology, University of California, Riverside; author, The How of Happiness: A New Approach to Getting the Life You Want "This is one of the finest statements made on what courage is, what obstacles get in the way, and how it can be cultivated. A perfect example of how meaningful, cutting-edge science can be translated into straightforward lessons on how to harness the strength of courage."—Todd B. Kashdan, PhD, professor of psychology, George Mason University; author, Curious? Discover the Missing Ingredient to a Fulfilling Life and Designing Positive Psychology
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