courage to overcome social anxiety

How To Continually Build Your Courage So You Can Enjoy Life More

What would you do in your life if you had more courage? What would you say? Who would you talk to? How would you move through the world?

Did you know that courage is a certifiably learnable skill? Yep.

And there are just 2 very simple things you must learn to master your courage.

Join Dr. Aziz in today’s show, where he will teach you exactly how to raise your courage, so you can start kicking even more ass in life.

Click below to hear this episode!

What Is Courage?

Welcome to today’s episode of the show. Today you are going to learn one of the most important powerful skills of your life. It’s going to single handedly help you break out of whatever level of inhibition you’re in right now, whether you call it social anxiety or you call it shyness or you just call it fear or you call it low confidence or low self-esteem. Whatever you are calling it that’s holding you back, this skill is the way out. Not only that but this skill is actually the way forward.

So when you break out of whatever stuck point you’re in and you start to accelerate and grow and expand in your life and be able to do more things, be more confident around people, start more conversations, connect, date, create relationships, excel in your career and business, as you do all of that stuff, this skill is going to be the fuel that drives you even further so you can go from, well I can’t meet anyone to I’m dating someone to I’m going to find the love of my life or I’m really struggling in my job and people don’t take me seriously to now I’m excelling in my field and now I want to become a leader of the field.

Now I’m going to start my own business in the field, now I want to take a higher level position in management. This skill is the way to get there. And if you looked at the title of the show then you already know what the skill is but let me tell you, in case you don’t read the name of the show, it’s courage. And trust me, courage is not something you just have or you don’t have it like so many things in life like social confidence is a skill. And we’re going to go deep into courage today because that’s one of the biggest questions I have.

In fact that’s a question I’m going to get to in the show is, okay get this stuff like I can do this, maybe I’m not stuck this way, maybe it’s my thoughts and ideas like you’re saying but how, how do I go do that thing? It’s scary and uncomfortable. So, that’s what we’re going to get in to today, it’s how to create that unstoppable courage. And by all means, if you have questions for me, I’m going to share question from a fellow named Trevor here today but if you want to leave me a voicemail or you can go to the website, to do that.

There’s a little click link, there’s a link that you can click that will, that’s awesome actually. It’s kind of combining those two words. A link you can click. So go there and lick the link on the right and, no don’t actually do that, don’t lick your phone but click that and leave me a message and I’ll listen to it and I’ll respond to you, I’ll include it on the show. And you can also call the studio hotline, 206-338-3176, let me know your questions, let me know how it’s working for you, share something that’s not working for you.

Hell, disagree with me, I love it, I just want to talk about this stuff. You can also go to and like the page there and get all the updates about new shows. So, what is courage? My favorite definitions of courage, I didn’t get from the internet, I didn’t get from a dictionary, I didn’t get from Wikipedia, guess where I got it? From a t-shirt. Oh yeah, it was amazing. It was such an awesome t-shirt that I actually had the pose and said, hey would you mind if I take a picture of your shirt because it’s awesome.

And if you said that to anyone of course they’re going to say yes because why do people wear shirts other than to get them noticed. Anyway, I took a picture of it and then I wrote the definition now and here is what it is. Courage also known as fortitude is the ability to confront fear, pain, danger, uncertainty or intimidation. It can be divided into physical courage in the face of physical pain, hardship and the threat of death. And the emotional courage in the face of shame, scandal, rejection and discouragement, its vice of deficiency brings cowardice and its vice of excess brings recklessness.

What a great definition, right? To be able to confront fear, nowhere in there does it talk about not having fear. We tend to think of courage as the guy who just runs out there on the battlefield of walks over that person and storms in to the board room meeting and just lays it down and they look like a badass. We think that’s what courage is. That’s not what courage is. I mean, it might be if they’re confronting a fear but if they don’t feel any fear about it, then that’s not courage.

Courage which is also known as fortitude is the ability to confront fear, pain, danger, uncertainty. Confront that fear, confront that uncertainty. I love that word in the definition because often times anything that you want to move towards, asking someone out, applying for a job, asking for a raise, creating your own business, whatever you want to do with that confidence, that’s uncertainty, right? That’s stepping outside of your comfort zone. And most of us are not facing physical courage, depending on where you’re listening to this podcast, from actual you could be, in a place where you’re literally facing physical pain, hardship and afraid of death.

And if so that takes tremendous courage. But most of us are not. We’re facing emotional threats, right? Shame, scandal, discouragement, rejection, the idea that we’re a failure, that’s what we need the courage in, that’s what we need to face, confront the fear, confront the danger, confront the uncertainty. And I love this, it’s evasive, deficiency brings cowardice and we’re going to get into the show what actually cowardice is. It’s not what you think it is. It’s not what most people call a cowardice, it’s actually something much sneakier and I really discovered what cowardice exactly is and how you can break that and be free of it.

And it’s vise of excess brings recklessness which I love that that’s true, right, if you just are always confronting your fear without ever thinking about the consequences without ever taking the moment to assess if what you’re doing is working or not then you can be reckless, you can just go out too much too far. So you got to find that that middle ground. We got to be able to start confronting that fear. My sense is if you want to have more confidence in your life, you’re probably not on the reckless side of the spectrum, you’re probably towards the needing to confront more fear.

And, you know, that’s where I live for many years and I still live this practice out today where I look in my life always and say how can I build more courage because you do truly build courage. It’s a skill that you can develop. So, let me start with this. How would your life benefit if you had more courage? What would you do in your life if you had more courage? Unless you know what courage is. Just imagine that for a second. What would you do in your relationship or your romantic life, your dating life?

What about your social life? What about in work, you career, business? If you had more courage, if you had an excess of courage, well, you had courage coming out your ears, so much courage. What would you do in that area? What would you do if you weren’t afraid of a no or a rejection, it didn’t stop you. Interesting. What would happen for you in your life if you had more courage? You just have to think about it. If you haven’t thought about it, really imagine that stuff because that’s what’s possible for you because again all it if is a matter of intention and consistency.

And just like getting in shape, you can get into an incredible courage shape just by following some basic things and all they force for you after this break and we’re going to jump into a question from Trevor where he asks exactly how to build those courage and I’m going to share with him how to do it and share with you how to do it in your own life and you’re going to discover what the true meaning of cowardice is and how it’s not what you think. So, stay tuned, we’ll jump into that right after this.

Welcome back. So, now we’re going to learn how to actually build that courage and it’s more than just to do it. I mean that’s kind of obvious advice, right, just go out and do it but there’s a missing piece when people tell you to just go do it and that often doesn’t work. And that’s what I’m going to share with my response to a fellow named Trevor who wrote in and said hey Dr. Aziz, I discovered your audio book, The Solution to Social Anxiety through iTunes and I really like it.

You are the first person that I really believe who gets it and thank you. That’s awesome, thank you Trevor. My first question is this, you’re a doctor, how did you make it through school with social anxiety? I’ve been to three different college, I hate going to class, I get sick before and after class. And then I just stop going. It felt great to get myself out of those situations and just to escape. How on earth did you manage to get a doctorate when suffering from this demon? I would rather soak myself with gasoline and light myself on fire than go back to class.

I don’t understand how you can accomplish so much with such and effective inner critique raging in your mind. So, thanks for the question Trevor and I love the dramatic description of what you’d rather do than go to class, right? It just shows how painful that can feel and how in some ways the emotional pain that he is talking about of going to the class in the fear is really worse than physical pain because physical pain often has a clear cause, a clear end, you know what’s going on but emotional pain can just feel endless.

And here is an interesting fact toward about pain is that pain that we feel like we have no control over actually feels worse, it actually hurts more. They did a fascinating study and only take about 20 second to describe this because I don’t want to of you off track to much but they did a fascinating study where they had people their arm in a bucket of ice water which is painful after a little while. And then they had one group where they had them, they had to stay in there for a minute and they couldn’t take it out.

And they had them rated how much pain they felt from one to 10. And they had another group that put their arm in an ice bucket of water and they didn’t tell them how long they had to keep in there. They said, keep it in as long as you want and can and when you’re ready you can take it out but go for as long as you can. So that second group had power, they had control over the pain, right, they could take their own out anytime they wanted. And guess what, not only do the second group go longer than a minute, they also rated the pain as less intense than the group that felt like they had no control.

And that’s exactly the case for Trevor, right. If he feels like I can’t shift this, I have no control, I can’t do this, this is going to last forever, then the pain is actually worse and at that point, sure, lighten yourself on fire in the old gasoline soak and burn trick, might seem like a good idea. But here is the thing, inside of his question, inside of your question Trevor, the answer is already embedded in it. And you know what it is? I don’t understand how you can accomplish so much with such an effective inner critique raging in your mind.

And the answer to that is I can’t. No one can accomplish so much with such an effective inner critique rage in your mind. The key to accomplishing more, the key to getting yourself to go to class, the key to having the courage to go into that classroom and talk to those people and whatever area you specifically other than Trevor want to have that courage in, that comes from not having such an effective inner critique raging in your mind, from dismantling that critique. And so the short answer is I learned to make my inner critique less effective and less raging.

I took risks and focused heavily on learning the skill of self-compassion along the way. It’s not about just getting out there and doing it. That’s what I thought it was at first. I learned about exposure model of approach to overcoming fears. I just went out there and I did it but my inner critique was just tearing to pieces so I go talk to someone and afterwards he would say, oh that wasn’t good enough, you suck, or work up the courage to talk to a woman and maybe I’d ask her out and she’d say no and it’s, you’re a loser, you’re terrible.

So I was trying to just get myself to go do it, right, that’s what I thought courage was, just go do the thing you’re scared of. But that’s not because that’s not sustainable. How long can you pull that off? You know, the secret to courage is actually learning how to be compassionate with yourself. And so I did what it took to become more compassionate myself. I read books, I read books like Tara Brach’s Radical Acceptance, I read Brene Brown’s stuff on the Gifts of Imperfection, I read Theodore Rubin’s book on Self Compassion and Self Hate, I read David Burns books on How to Talk to Yourself and How to Improve Your Self-Esteem.

I read all kinds of books on the subject. I went to workshops. I got in to — I did coaching with people, I did therapy, I did whatever I could to learn how to be more compassionate with myself. And that allowed me to take more risks and get more success and more rejections. It was hard, it was painful. Rejections were painful. I had to learn the skill of not turning a no into a personal problem, into a personal failure. Oh Kirstin Neff’s book calls Self-Compassion, also very awesome if you’re taking notes on these things.

By the way, if you don’t take notes on these shows, do so. I mean these shows are — I mean, if you went to a standards therapy, I still do practice some therapy but if you went to a standard, traditionally trained psycho analytic therapist that have you sit on the couch, they’d have you spill your, you know, what are your old family issues and you’d spend $200 and you would got nowhere versus you’re listening to a 20 minutes to the show, if you take notes in apply this stuff, this will rapidly change your life.

I’ve had people write in and say look, Aziz, all I did is listen to your shows from start to finish and apply the action steps, my life is totally different. So that can be for you too. Take notes, that will help you engage yourself more. So the key is that I developed the tolerance for no. I studied how to interact with women and I practice that a lot too and I got rejected a lot along the way. Anytime there is something I was scared, public speaking, asking questions in class, I did it again and again and again and the whole time more important than the outcome, I realize more important than does this person say yes or do I get a gold star in the class or do I give a great presentation, more important than that is how do I treat myself?

And if you want to make a real shift, if you want to maximize your courage and it’s not getting out there and just doing a bunch of stuff, it’s committing that you’re going to treat yourself well no matter what but it’s the most important thing is how you relate to yourself, not the outcomes that you get. And if you do that and combine that with taking consistent steps towards what scares, you will develop an amazing reservoir of courage. And I have found that people really can maximize this with proper guidance, whether it’s coaching with me or program with me or finding a therapist that really works for you and knows their stuff but you need that help.

Even if it was just friend, you need some of that guidance, that help and support that gets you through that phase because that early phase, you’ll start doing stuff but then your critique will get you. So you have to be able to work on that critique. So in the moment, we’re going to take a quick break and we’re going to jump back in and look at exactly what cowardice is, what the opposite of courage is so you know exactly how to dismantle that and then we’re going to go into a little bit of how to generate that courage in your body and then your actions steps. So stay tuned, we’ll get back in the things right now.

What Is Cowardice Really?

So, what is cowardice? Because often times that’s just another of self attack, right, you say, oh you’re such a coward, you’re such a wimp. You know, that’s what I would say to myself all the time in my head and those are let’s say nice ways, those are euphemisms. I would say much worse that you know what I’d say to myself, in my head, you know, this is why this show has an explicit rating because I just want to be honest and real and that’s what you might doing too as well in your own mind.

And the more honest we can be with each other, the more real, the more you can progress. The more I can help you, the more we can both grow together. So what I would say to myself in my head is, what the fuck is wrong with you? You’re such a pussy. God, like ah, you’re such a wimp, what’s wrong with you? Right, and that’s the tone and so cowardice became this terrible thing and another reason to attack myself. But here is the thing, cowardice is not what you think. For example, I was working with a guy and we were in Target I believe.

And I might have told the story somewhere but I’m going to have a different twist to it this time and there’s a woman and he is working to women and so there’s a woman there, looking at the CDs in the Target and he, you know, I encourage him and he starts to walk towards her. And right as he’s about to get near her to start a conversation, he makes a B line left and pretends to start looking at CDs next to her. And then, he and there’s around her and circles back and doesn’t do it.

And you may look at that and say oh that’s cowardice. No, it’s not. Damn it, it’s not because guess what, he walks towards her with the intention of doing it. He was close. He was taking action. He was pushing the edge of his comfort zone and no, that time he didn’t get the outcome he wanted which is opening his mouth and saying something but he’s a hell of lot closer than before he did it. That deserves compassion, that deserves praise, that deserves fucking respect, that’s courage.

I’ll tell you what cowardice is. Here is what cowardice is, is telling yourself a million and one reasons why you can’t do something. Cowardice is not trying and having some BS story that you tell yourself as to why you totally would do it but the stuff gets in the way. So for example one guy I was working with is wanting to meet women and he is like, oh but I live out in the suburbs. I don’t have a car right now and it’s just too far from my house and I’m working too much hours or too long and I just don’t have free time.

That’s cowardice because he is telling himself a story and the reality is if he really, really wanted to meet women, he could find time, he can make the time, he could commit himself to getting there, via public transportation or a bike or whatever it fucking takes. And you’ll see even a more kind of worse form cowardice is being cynical and being jaded and saying, oh that stuff is stupid, none of that stuff works anyway. Those people that teach that stuff are idiots. Oh yeah, that person is going to do this.

And I worked with one guy who had that edge around him and I worked with him, this was back when I was doing therapy and I was working with anyone, whether how they are motivated or not and we were together for maybe six, eight months and he just had the shell cynicism that I just didn’t know how to breakthrough. I mean I tried everything and he kind of roll his eyes and mock me in sessions and part of me, I was like fuck you dude, like I’m trying to help but I was like no I got to help this guy, I got to help this guy and I kept on trying, I kept on trying, I just kept on beating my head against the wall.

In the end I was just like I don’t know what to do for you. I’m like, I mean, that in that cynicism was like, oh yeah, I just could go walk up and talk to a woman and do this, yeah, right. And he was just totally shutdown. That is cowardice. Not taking a shot and getting close and then at the last minute pulling out or running away, that’s fine because you’re at least facing your fear, you’re turning towards it. That is tremendous courage. No, no, cowardice is just coming up with excuses and stories and then also being cynical, jaded, too cool to try.

And guess what, cowardice kills your soul. Courage is rewarded in life. If you’re courageous you are rewarded. You get results. People respect you. You have positive responses from people when you are courageous. Cowardice is punished or at best it’s ignored. And if you live with cowardice enough that means you make a bunch of excuses and never try or you’re cynical and you’re jaded and you think it’s all stupid so you don’t give it a shot. That kills you soul and what the poor guy was struggling. That’s why I want to help him so bad and I can only hope that my work with him set something in motion that down the road he’ll be more open for it.

But when you’re ready to make that shift, when you really want to activate that sense of courage, how do you do it? Do you know how to activate courage in your body? And if you really want to develop this even more, I actually have a bonus program I’ve created called Four Steps to Creating Unstoppable Courage. And it’s actually a bonus that comes when you get my 30 Days to Dating Mastery program if you are involved in one of my special promotional offer. So, that’s a way to get even more in-depth and I’m going to give you just a piece of it right now.

And if you want to learn more about that, go to and you’re going to learn more about that program. But here is a simple tip to get started. And that is you got to activate courage in your body, you got to use your body. Most of us don’t use our bodies, we kind of walk around in the same patterns and carry yourselves in the same way and we get up and roll out of bed and we, the only time we use our body is if we’re working out. And even then that’s a very specific motion, right?

It’s a socially sanction motion, I’m running my arms and I’m pumping my arms and running my legs and I’m jogging. And I’m sitting on a bike and I’m — but we don’t want to do anything that’s a little unusual than lot of the ordinary. But fuck that. If can do something out of the ordinary, that itself is courage. So this courage building exercise I’m going to share with you, not only does it generate courage but just the mere act of doing it is a courageous act. And you know what it is? Is doing my friend calls, getting pumped up.

And another friend of mine calls it because they both seeing me do it, my other friend calls it my gorilla moves. And that is you put on some music in the morning and just one song that gets you pumped up and you just do pound your chest, you yell, you say yes, I got this, yes and you get strong in your body. You yell out the word yes. You talk about what you want for your life. You say what’s going to be true for you like I can do this. I got this, I can handle this. Yes and I’m doing it quiet here so I don’t explode the microphone but you yell.

You get that intensely in your body and you breathe deep and you walk tall and you walk around like you’re a mother fucking badass. And you do that for three or four minutes the morning to a song and you better believe that that can get stored in your body somewhere and that’s going to build up a reservoir of courage. And then when you’re in that situation later that day, you step into an elevator and there’s a woman standing there right near you and you’re like oh my God, I wish I could talk to her or you’re going to give a presentation, or you need to go have a one on one conversation with your boss that always make you nervous.

Then right before you do that, just take a deep breath and then think about the energy that you generated in the morning, take a deep full breath in through your nose and then say this to yourself in your own mind, fuck it. I’m going to die anyway. Fuck it, I’m going to die anyway. That’s the worse that could happen. I’m just going to, I’m going to die anyway. I’m not going to escape death by avoiding this thing, fuck it. One of those phrases will click for you or count with your own but just say something that triggers that sense of urgency like life is short man.

I mean how many elevator rides are you going to go down and not talk to her. How many days are you going to miss out on. How many career opportunities are you going to let go by. Fuck it, take action and then remember to give yourself a self compassion that you need to continue to build up your reservoir of courage of strength or power. And that actually brings us to our action step.

You action step for the day is to practice that courage generation ritual, putting on that song, getting pumped up, getting energized, saying what you need to be true for yourself for that day and really activating a sense of strength in your body. You know the song that’s going to do it for you guys. I’m talking you probably can think of it. Maybe it’s a metal song, a techno song, a rock song, whatever has got some energy for you. Hell, it might even be a country song. I’m not going to judge. Whatever is going to get you pumped up.

And then, also in your day tomorrow, or today if you’re listening to this in the morning, do something. Step up and do it. I don’t know what that thing is for you but you do. Something that would if you had courage, the courage that you want and you’d be doing it already. Now go do that thing. Maybe there’s that woman that you work with that you’re seeing she’s involved in another wing of a company or something and you see her once in a while and you made eye contact but you’ve never talked to her.

Go talk to her. Maybe there’s another woman you have a crush on and you haven’t had the courage to go talk to, go talk to her today or tomorrow if it’s midnight, right? And it doesn’t have to be dating or relationships, maybe you’re already in a relationship, maybe you’re not working on that area, then where do you apply this in your life? Your social life. Go to that event that you’ve been wanting to go to or in your business life. Go have that conversation with that person, go ask for something. Go lead that meeting, go step up and so something even if it’s minor, even if it’s telling a colleague who always asks you for something saying no to them.

Whatever the thing is that you’re a little bit scared to do, go do it today if you’re listening to the morning or tomorrow if it’s night time. Awesome. So thanks for listening, great sharing the stuff to you, I want to hear more about your experience, go to and leave a message there or send me an email, let me know how it’s going for you. I really want to know and I really want to hear about your progress, your successes, your challenges, everything. So thanks so much for listening and until we speak again next week, may you have the courage to be who you are and to know that you’re awesome.

Music Credit

DeepSound – Lost Ground
(Licensed through

First Ad:
Music By Steven O’Brien – Short Upbeat Piece For Guitar In D Major
(Creative Commons License)

Ask The Shrink:
Boccherini Minuet
(Licensed through

Second Ad:
Justin Crosby – Afterparty
(Licensed through

Action Step:
DeepSound – Yellow Dog
(Licensed through

Lokfield – Terra’s Theme Dubstep
(Creative Commons License)

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