You Have More Courage Than You Think

My fiancee Babette and I recently rented the “Karate Kid” movie starring Jaden Smith and Jackie Chan.

She really really wanted to see it, but I was pretty sure it was going to be cheeseball. I never saw the original, and was fine with missing this remake.

But something happened while we were watching the movie. I started to become emotionally involved with the characters: Dre (played by Jaden), the small kid who is bullied by bigger, older kids. And Mr. Han (Jackie Chan), the kung fu master disguised as a maintenance man.

As the story played out, I realized it was not about punching and kicking. It was about courage and love.

Now I realize this movie may, indeed, be kind of mawkish. But I found myself moved to tears — even when we watched it a second time.

Afterward, I thought about the real-life Jaden Smith, son of rapper turned TV star turned A-List movie star Will Smith.

I have been a Will Smith fan since the ’90s. As a student of success and its causes, I have studied him carefully, because he has a unique claim to fame.

He is the only person who has hit the top of the charts in all three major entertainment categories: music, TV, and movies.

Elvis didn’t do it. Sinatra didn’t. Madonna didn’t. Mariah Carey didn’t.

Only Will Smith, the Fresh Prince from Philly, did it.

And watching Jaden on the screen, it’s easy to see his father in him. His facial expressions, mannerisms, even the way he moves his mouth — you can see his dad’s influence.

That got me thinking about where courage really comes from.

Imagine how confident young Jaden must be to have someone like Will Smith believing in him.

Of course, if you ask Will, I bet he’d tell you that Jaden has more confidence than he himself had at that age.

And that’s the way it should be. Will Smith built on the example of his parents, who built on their parents, and so on.

The word courage comes from the Latin cor, “heart.” And isn’t it interesting how many times we refer to the heart when talking about people who act with both kindness and courage:

“He spoke from his heart.”

“She’s all heart.”

“Follow your heart.”

Follow your heart. It sounds so simple. And maybe it is simple — but it isn’t always easy.

Sometimes following our heart is the last thing we want to do — because our HEAD tells us we’re crazy!

For example, when I launched in 1997, I had no business skills, no money, no contacts, and no idea how to run a profitable business.

Every day, I’d wake up and ask God, “Okay, God, what do you want me to do today?”

Twelve years and tens of thousands of students later, we’re still here. And I’m still asking the same question. (Only I have a little more experience and a lot more help these days.)

1. Listen to your still, small voice.

You know, the voice I mean. The one that doesn’t make any sense. The one telling you to take that leap and do the thing that doesn’t make any sense. That one.

2. Write down all your crazy ideas.

I’m not saying you should do all of them. But what the heck, they’re rattling around in your head anyway. Writing them down gives you the chance to examine them and stop the rattling.

3. Share your crazy ideas with a Loving Mirror.

A Loving Mirror believes in you more than you believe in yourself. Like Mr. Han did with Dre. Like Will did with Jaden.

Your mentors believe you into being.


Here’s a great example: Most of the people who audition for American Idol can’t sing. But they have a dream, and at least they showed up for it. They took action. They did something.

Sure, maybe they’ll embarrass themselves. But it’s better than sitting around thinking, “If only I’da…”

And who knows? Someone’s gotta win the thing.

5. Learn from people who’ve already been where you want to go.

Mr. Han was a kung fu master, but if Dre hadn’t had the courage to ask for his help, he still would have been beaten up by bullies.

Find 5 people who’ve done what you want to do.

Contact them and show them how, why, and that THEY will benefit from helping you.

Remember The Power of WIIFT: What’s In It For THEM! Things get very easy when you’re always talking about how the OTHER person benefits.

6. Ignore everyone else.

“The only people who can tell me I can’t do something are people who’ve tried it and failed.”

People love to criticize, because it makes them feel important and justifies their not taking action.

Ignore them, feel sorry for them, let their non-belief spur you to more action. The only thing not to do is let them stop you.

7. Do the thing you’re afraid of.

Will Smith has said over and over: “When I’m afraid of something, that’s the thing I do next.”

I loved it when Jaden’s character in the movie said the same thing, nearly word for word.

I know you’ve had the experience of being deathly afraid of something…

Then you did it…

And went, “Hey, that wasn’t so bad after all. What was I so afraid of?”

Follow your heart and you’ll discover that you have more courage than you think.

What are you waiting for?

[Ed. Note: Noah St. John, Ph.D., is a lifestyle expert and #1 bestselling author of The Secret Code of Success: 7 Hidden Steps to More Wealth and Happiness. In the words of Stephen Covey, “Noah’s Secret Code of Success is about discovering within ourselves what we should have known all along — we are truly powerful beings with unlimited potential.” For a limited time, get the first 3 chapters of The Secret Code FREE at

Noah was at Early to Rise’s Info-Marketing Bootcamp last week. He was one of the dozen experts (including Rich Schefren, MaryEllen Tribby, Perry Marshall, and, of course, Michael Masterson) who helped teach budding entrepreneurs how to start and grow an online business. But even if you couldn’t make it to the Bootcamp, you can still learn how to build your own online business following the Early to Rise model.]