This post on courage is a bit of a rewrite from a post in 2012. I thought it apropos due to the insanity that has become all to familiar in this current culture. There are some dark times ahead and I feel it important for all of us to understand what courage is because we are going to need it going forward.
I’m going to share some quotes that I feel really capture the essence of what courage is.
Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear. ~~ Ambrose Redmond
Have you any idea just how important and true that quote is? Have you ever really considered what courage is, and whether or not you possess it?
If you were to do a poll, I believe many people would say that they don’t have courage. The reason for this is that most people have a misguided idea of what courage is. They think it’s this larger than life bravery.
Most of the time we attribute courage to those soldiers who charge onto the battlefield. We see firemen and police who lay their lives on the line daily and say, “Now they have courage”. And both of those statements are true, those who lay their lives on the line do have courage. But, is that the only form of courage? I think courage is much more than just bravery on the job or battlefield.
It is curious that physical courage should be so common in the world and moral courage so rare.
~~ Mark Twain
What in the world could Mark Twain possibly be talking about? Could it be that there are other areas of life that call for one to have courage? What does it take for a teen, who wants to be accepted, to turn down drugs or alcohol from his or her peers?
What does it take for an employee to say no when asked to cheat a customer, or falsify some records by his employer? What does it take for a man or woman to follow their dream to better themselves when everyone around them is saying, “you can’t do that”, “you’ll never make it”, “you don’t have what it takes? The answer to all of these is courage.
Courage is never to let your actions be influenced by your fears.
~~ Arthur Koestler
Courage is doing what you’re afraid to do. There can be no courage unless you’re scared.
~~ Edward Vernon Rickenbacker
Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point.
~~ C.S. Lewis
Who isn’t afraid of being rejected by others for not following the pack? Who isn’t afraid of trying something new, or going in a different direction then one is used to? Who isn’t afraid when taking a risk where there is the possibility of losing or failing? I don’t personally know anyone who isn’t afraid, to a point, when doing things they’re unaccustomed to. When you don’t let fear keep you from doing something, you are showing courage.
To dare is to lose one’s footing momentarily. To not dare is to lose oneself.
~~ Soren Kierkegaard
Progress always involves risks. You can’t steal second base and keep your foot on first.
~~ Frederick B. Wilcox
Yes, risk taking is inherently failure-prone. Otherwise, it would be called sure-thing-taking.
~~ Tim McMahon
I hope you’re coming to understand what courage really is.
You see, if you understand that courage isn’t the absence of fear, it is much easier to see yourself exercising courage. If on the other hand you’re under the false assumption that courage is the absence of fear, you will never step outside your comfort zone, you will never take risks, you will let fear hold you back; and thereby surrendering yourself to a life of mediocrity.
Without risk there is no growth, there is no advancement, there is no bettering oneself.
If you look at the lives of people like Colonel Sanders, or Thomas Edison you will see lives that were full of failures. These men were not men who didn’t have fears, but they were men who didn’t let fear stop them in their pursuits.
There is a book I bought and read some years ago when I first decided to join a speech club. This book’s title itself really helped me to understand that courage was not the lack of fear.
The book is by Susan Jeffers, Ph.D. and is called “Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway”. That is a mantra that I have kept in my mind and have repeated to my children. Don’t let fear stop you from doing or seeking the things you want in life.
There are times when courage has serious consequences; like on the battlefield, or when charging into a burning building. That is why we call these people heroes, because they are willing to lay it all on the line for others, or for a noble cause. Most of us will never be required to exercise that kind of courage. For most of us the risk is much more forgiving; we might lose some time, some money, and maybe some pride; but not our lives.
Take risks: if you win, you will be happy; if you lose, you will be wise.
~~ Author Unknown
You see, showing courage is a win win situation. If you don’t succeed at something you’re going for, you’ll have learned a way not to do that thing. If you do succeed, you will have taken a big step in the betterment of your life.
But don’t stop there, keep stretching yourself, keep challenging yourself. Never accept mediocrity in your life, you need to Feel The Fear and Do It Anyway. Our courage is shown by pressing toward our goals without looking back, and by not letting failures or fear stop us.
What has God said in His word about courage?
Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the LORD your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.”
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”
Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart, All you who hope in the LORD.
Remember, courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear; and as part of God’s called out remnant, we need to strap on the armor and exercise courage in the days ahead.
Please tell me what you think!