I get scared when I feel “stuck” in my life. I get scared when I meet a new friend and I’m afraid he won’t like me.

I get scared when a woman I love is quiet for a bit too long. At dinner parties I get scared when I have nothing to say. I get scared when people I care for are hurt.

I’m afraid of what people are saying about me behind my back. I’m afraid that when I’m an old man I will be too sick to move and nobody will visit me.

I want to practice courage.

Courage is caring but not having to care. Helping but not forcing. Saying no without being afraid of consequences.

Doing your best every moment but letting go of the results. Being loving with no expectation of love.

You become what you practice.

I get attached to things because of fear of losing them. Fear leads to anger. Anger ruins lives.

Courage is letting them go and simply waiting for what happens next.

I want to be what I practice. Courage risks fear.


No matter what, my little baby, it will be ok. Shhhh. You will grow up and fly away and I will never stop loving you.




43 Responses to “HOW TO HAVE COURAGE”

  1. Zac Champigny Says:

    James, I found your site because I’m an avid reader of Mark Manson’s and some of my friends from there recommended you.

    I’ve read a lot of your stuff. I like your style, even if not all of it resonates with me.

    This post though, it was great, and I appreciate it’s timing very much.

    Keep doing what you are doing, it’s great.

  2. Taylor Says:

    Short but very accurate. This is why I meditate.

  3. Alexander Becket Says:

    This line “Courage is caring but not having to care. Helping but not forcing. Saying no without being afraid of consequences” sounds like it could have come from the Taoteching.

    • PlinytheElder Says:

      I think Lao Tzu would follow James’s blog. Much of what you find here
      is very Zen, which is what keeps me coming back.

  4. Vincent Nguyen Says:

    I’ll be honest with you, James. I’m nowhere near as courageous as people think I am. My friends, family, people who follow my journey think I’ve got this iron will, but I’m scared as hell.

    I’m afraid I’m not the person I think I am. I’m scared that I care too much about what people think of me. I’m afraid that I’m so out of my element right now that I’m not quite sure how to be myself anymore.

    But like you I’m practicing my courage.

    • James Altucher Says:

      All it is is practice. Never have to worry if yesterday you were afraid or tomorrow you might be. Just right now practice. Me too.

      • Joe Says:

        James, this is one of those most profound things I have read on your blog and it just so happened to come in the form of a comment 🙂

        “Just right now practice.”

        I read that line as I sit in my cubicle (cage as I call it) and for one brief moment, I was able to relieve myself of all fear. Because “just right now practice.” made it seem so simple.

        Often times I find myself thinking about being free and brave which is important, but actually practicing these things is what actually matters.
        If everyone could just stop right now and practice being free and not afraid, then we can begin to develop these feelings into habits and longer term happiness.

  5. Early David Ehlinger Says:

    Something to bolster your courage:

  6. Laura Gaunt Says:

    Always love what you have to say. My four year-old daughter often says, “I am not brave. I am scared.” To which I reply, “If you’re not scared, it’s not brave!” 🙂

  7. jeffcouret Says:

    Can you add date stamps to your posts so I can tell if they’re new or not?

  8. Craig McBreen Says:

    Hi James,

    I practice every day.

    A fragile human in a foggy city in vast country on a big blue marble that is filled with billions of other humans who become less than tiny specs the higher up you get (and most of them are afraid of something).

    Thinking that kind of helps.

    You are one good egg, Mr. Altucher 😉

  9. Joe Says:

    I got so excited for a moment because I thought you threw in a Yoda quote…”Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to…suffering.”

    • Claudia Yoga Says:

      Funny. I do use that quote in yesterday’s email list. So wait a week or so for it to hit the blog if I decide to use it on the blog
      -James Altucher writing from Claudia’s computer

  10. Slzr Says:

    James, it would be great if you could make a post about this, its getting a lot of traction between men:

  11. Ruth Belmonte Says:

    I’m here NOW…for the most part not very courageous! 🙂 Thank you for taking me into your space.

  12. Ben Says:

    i think if you believe in your own good intentions and the limitations of what you can do then courage can come quite naturally. For me at least, fear is never a good option.

  13. Mark David Fourman Says:

    Hi James,

    You might find this useful, “Overcome Your Fears – In 45 Minutes” at

    It’s a guided meditation I put together for transforming fears into positive motivation and courage. A bunch of my clients (and myself) have found it quite valuable for transforming the kinds of fears you list above.



  14. Kara Gott Warner Says:

    James, thanks for these kind words just when I needed them. The subject of courage is one that I found myself pondering today before finding my way to your poignant post. The fear of consequences– not being liked, falling from favor from my boss, messing up royally on a project and so on are some of the common fears that I find myself struggling with. Your post has helped me turn the corner on finally standing up to not say yes when I mean NO!

  15. Chad Elkins Says:

    The last two sentences made me cry all of a sudden as soon as I read them. I don’t know why, but I know I’m going through a real tough time right now and I’ve been wishing someone would say them to me. Courage. Even though I know the words weren’t directed at me, thanks, James.

    • Capitalistic Says:

      One step at a time. One day at a time. This too shall pass…

    • Lady Quixote (Lynda) Says:

      Ah, Chad… I don’t know you from the man in the moon, but your boldly honest, sweetly touching comment brought tears to this grandma’s eyes.
      Years ago I wrote what I call my Optimistic Blues song. I’m going to sing part of it to you right now, Chad. The melody is bluesy, jazzy, slow, sung in a smoky alto voice, like a soft lullaby. This is for you:
      “Troubles come
      and troubles go…
      that’s just the way this old life is
      you know, but ~
      I’ve got a feeling
      a beautiful feeling
      everything will be all right.
      First you’re up
      and then you’re down
      sometimes you feel like
      you’re all turned around, but ~
      I’ve got a feeling
      a beautiful feeling
      everything will be all right.
      God’s in his heaven
      up above
      sending his blessings
      on the wings of his love
      to all of the children here below
      and there’s no better way, I know
      I’ve got you, Babe
      and you’ve got me
      together we make a happy family
      ‘cuz I’ve got a feeling
      a beautiful feeling
      everything will be all right
      Your love’s got me reeling
      with beautiful feelings
      and everything will be all right!”
      ((((Chad)))) ~big hug from a 60-year-old great-grandmother XOXO

    • Peter Osiago Says:

      The world is tough Elkins, but so are you. That is why you have always managed to keep your head above the waters, and come this far. You can do it again. And again

  16. tom Says:

    A bunch of years ago I was practicing law.

    My first felony case was some guy accused of fondling a minor.

    Decent guy, I personally think he didn’t do it.

    3 day trial.

    First day of the trial, I tagged each of the prosecution’s witnesses.

    I knew on the first day that I had created reasonable doubt.

    Day 3, we do closing arguments. Send to the jury.

    Judge calls me into his chambers.

    Absolutely savages me for the job I did.

    Basically accuses me of legal malpractice.

    Jury comes back.

    Verdict for defendant.

    Altucher speaks the truth:

    Have Courage

    Believe in Yourself.
    You will never be the same.

  17. me Says:

    Thanks, James. Maybe your most beautiful one yet.

    I’m not sure; there are so many beautiful ones.

  18. Sugaree Says:

    Thanks James. I really need this lately. Feeling very stuck in life, mainly because of all my fear. And bad habits.

  19. Peter Osiago Says:

    I am almost always as self-conscious as sh!t…always worried by the impression I always imagine I am making. A good friend Lucas made me aware that about 99% of the people we meet are so concerned by what they were going to have for dinner, and the shoes they are gonna wear tomorrow, and what they are going to say in that meeting, and etc, and etc; that they practically have no time to think about whatever impression we may be making. I believe it helped. Now I am practicing to be easy on myself. And to live my own life.

  20. Smart Dad maybe Says:

    My #1 quote which I tell my kids all the time is: It’s OK to be afraid, but you can’t let being afraid stop you.

  21. Lucy Says:

    Loved reading this, thanks James. I have recently been ‘brave’ and quit my soul-destroying job to go freelance. I don’t feel courageous at all right now. I feel like I have thrown myself into the abyss and I am scared, worried, anxious. But maybe that’s ok. I am human. It will be ok. Very much enjoying your blogs as I transition through this period, thank you 🙂

  22. Says:

    Of all the places I could hang out on the web, this community has become a favorite. Part of the reason why is because of what James writes. Another part of the reason why is because of what the people who read James write. Thank you one and all. Happy Thanksgiving.

  23. Jake Says:

    “Courage is letting them go and simply waiting for what happens next.” Thanks, James. I needed to hear that tonight!

  24. Isaiah Hankel, Ph.D. Says:

    “Courage is caring but not having to care. Helping but not forcing. Saying no without being afraid of consequences.”- I love the way you describe courage here. Saying no can be very scary to me, but I have realized how important it is. I am getting better at it with practice.

  25. The Whacky Chronicle Says:

    There is a very profound quote by Helen Keller which I think about whenever I find myself in a situation that has me anxious and scared. The quote may sound like it is
    only applicable to people who live on the edge, but I believe it applies to every daily aspect of our lives.

    “Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing”.
    -Helen Keller

  26. web design company los angeles Says:

    Very informative and useful. Keep posting.

  27. Chris Tully Says:

    “Courage is the price that Life exacts for granting peace,
    The soul that knows it not, knows no release,
    From little things;
    Knows not the livid loneliness of fear
    Nor mountain heights where bitter joy can hear
    The sound of wings.”

    -Amelia Earhart

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