How do I stay brave?

Fang Jin
4 min readMar 10


Photo by m wrona on Unsplash

You might think a brave person is normally muscled up from head to toe. Maybe that helps to deliver the image for the TV business, but in reality, it can be quite far from the truth. Because everyone has a different life and history, the way how each one of us ends up as who we are can be quite unpredictable. Same as their characteristic, to be strong or brave can depend on what happen to us in the past. In this blog, I’d like to share my discovery in terms of how to discover your bravery in general matters.

Don’t dwell on the past

It occurs to me being brave isn’t about the bravery itself. For instance, the mental flow of thoughts, if jammed, can cause lots of feelings such as fear. So the first thing is to keep the normal thread of thinking and doing without interruption from bad memories. Those moments happened in your past, and when you perform certain action, it comes back in no time. And then you have to live with the moment again. Since these are bad memories, most likely you can’t live through it to the end; so you will most likely battle and suffer. The ending is always the same, you felt bad and you chickened out. This is the end story of dealing with your fear. Every time.

The most counterintuitive way to deal with it is to declare those memories healthy, not bad. Of course, we can’t just turn bad things into good things, it’s easy for me to say. But one of the most important lesson that I want to teach you here is that: don’t spend too much time dwelling on the past. It’s not that you can’t have them, it’s that you need to find a way to get over it so that you don’t need to live with the same moment again and again. Maybe you can polish up the moment, give it a bit more perspective, or document it, whatever you do, you can’t repeatedly go through the same thing again and again. I know I sound a bit crazy, but this is exactly the reason we can’t be brave again. We constantly defeat ourselves through past memories.

Advince: say you can only go through a bad memory once a day, yes apply some throttling effect to it, limit its occurence.

Don’t use your full strength

It’s a wrong notion that to defeat something you need to be very strong and use all your strength. That can be true if you literally can win the battle. But if you are not strong enough, how can you beat it with your full strength, where does that extra strength come from? Trying isn’t going to win naturally, trying with a twist (a new discovery) every time might be.

So don’t be illusional. When you are weak, you are plain weak. Admit it, and most importantly, keep yourself comfortable and use 10% of your normal strength to start. Why? It’ll be a long journey, if you want to win, you need to know how to conserve your energy and anticipate all (unsuccessful) outcomes.

There’s another reason why you shouldn’t use that much of strength to start. The chance you make a correct decision when you are under stress is slim. If you don’t believe me, at least you should think the chance is close to 50:50. 50:50 chance isn’t too bad, you might say. But what do you do after the usage of your full strength? Suppose you fail at the previous one, what’s your chance of winning afterwards? Zero. People tends to fight at their full strength when they are desperate. We are not cartoon characters, you can’t get extra strength for free by another magic inner source. Even you do, you shouldn’t count on that, since how do we know what happens next time? Consistency and predictability is what helps you to be brave in the long run.

Advince: when you feel your stomach, try to use less strength, think about your most comfortable level. Never go all in, never! Remember that.

Nail it with a single blow

We practice, we learn, we want to get better at something. When the time comes, you want to nail the thing with all you know in a single successful blow. That’s it, the real battle takes 50ms (less than a second). Everything else in the past is an accumulation towards that point.

Pick your right battle, for things you can win, win it, for things you can’t win, lose it. Brave is about winning quickly and getting over the loss quickly. It conserves your energy. Move on quickly, what keeps you winning isn’t about living with those past moments of winning or losing, it’s about living with the current moment. You decide your own fate in THIS battle, if you are really well prepared, use decent amount of your strength, and nail it right there already. BANG!

Advince: think about the alternatives or write your insurance plan if you are not winning. Otherwise you have already won.

Aggressive but actually normal

If everything mentioned so far makes you think I’m a bit aggressive. It’s not. Actually the way to become brave is to be normal, like when you are calm. You are curious, easy with everyone, like to talk to everyone and explore the world freely. Your past experience might distort your normal of living, so you need to find a way to stay normal, or shall I say, invent the new normal through practicing, learning, going to the real battle every day and making sure coming back afterwards. So yes maybe a big aggressive, but you want to make that your new norm.

Happy being brave, everyone!



Fang Jin

#OpenToWork Front-end Engineer, book author of “Designing React Hooks the Right Way” sold at Amazon.