Damian Hughes

How Peak Performers Find the Path to Courage

The legendary Manchester United player Roy Keane is famously quoted as saying, “People say ‘go with the flow’ but do you know what goes with the flow? Dead fish.”

Naturally no conscious human with an ounce of ambition for their future hopes to be reduced to the passivity of a dead fish. But surprisingly getting beyond going with the flow is a hell of a lot harder than you might think.

For many people, it’s remarkably easy to unthinkingly follow the crowd and then get lost in it. In my talk, I want to show the pattern of change that all high achievers have to pass through in order to take control of their lives: Ridicule, Opposition & Acceptance.

The paradox which lies at the heart of courage is in learning to overcome allodoxaphobia, which is the official name given to the fear of being ridiculed by other people. It is the second most common phobia in the UK (behind our fear of spiders). I will show how courage is not about great acts of bravery, moments of glory or heroic achievements: it is a willingness to stand apart, to risk ridicule and looking foolish. I hope this talk will inspire you to take the courageous path.

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