Theory of Desirable Difficulties: BTSxARMY and the concept of “Acquired Courage”

Where does the BTS confidence come from? Many will say it stems from the unequivocal support they get from ARMYs. But I think there is much more to this than that. This confidence may actually also stem from the concept of “acquired courage” introduced by Malcolm Gladwell in his book David & Goliath. Acquired courage is achieved when you survive a difficult and fearful situation. You come out of it with great resolve and strength. 

BTS experienced what most artists fear the most after a successful debut:

  • the fear of being a one-hit wonder and not succeeding 
  • the fear of their artistry being questioned 

But  they survived their greatest fears, they came  out battered and bruised but with “acquired courage”. 

MacCurdy introduced the concept of direct hits and near misses. When the blow is fatal it is called a hit. In the context of careers, this happens to groups that failed after debuting or did not achieve anything significant during the course of their career. Near misses are those that went through difficult times and survived. Survivors of near misses come out of the experience a completely different person – more courageous. From surviving their difficult days, BTS were able to conquer their fears and build a confidence that allowed them to expand their spectrum and explore different things as artists. They make calculated risks. 

Since ARMYS went through the difficulties alongside them, we also came out with “acquired courage”. This can explain why we are driven and more open to exploring multitudes of ways to achieve our goals for BTS. We are not risk averse, we are willing to experience rejection on behalf of BTS and follow through until we achieve what others think is not possible. Surviving the unimaginable as a fandom also catapulted us to innovative thinking. To think outside of the box. 

“We are all of us not merely liable to fear, we are also prone to be afraid of being afraid, and the conquering of fear produces exhilaration. The contrast between previous apprehension and the present relief and feelings of security promotes a self-confidence that is the very father and mother of courage.” -J.T. MacCurdy [Canadian Psychiatrist that studied the 1940s London Bombing]

One thought on “Theory of Desirable Difficulties: BTSxARMY and the concept of “Acquired Courage”

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  1. I used to like other groups before; and I could say that my adoration and fondness towards BTS is tremendously different from the past groups. I totally agree to what you say; BTS together with the ARMYs conquered too much already; though these hardships honed them, becoming so strong and adamant to their passion and dreams.

    I really like reading your posts! Have a nice day! 💜


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