Courage: Master the Fear
“Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear-not absence of fear.“–Mark Twain
I looked at the definition of courage in the dictionary. And found an interesting definition. ‘Courage: The quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc. without fear or bravery.’
I’m not sure I buy into that one. To me, courage is doing what needs to be done in spite of fear. I think bravery, for example, in particular is a way of thinking about our lives such that we are doing what we need to do even though we have fear about doing it.
People that are really genuinely brave don’t have a lack of fear. They’re acting in spite of it. And so I’m going to define courage as doing what needs to be done in spite of fear. That’s real courage. Courage has within it an element of fear. If it didn’t, why would we need courage? If it were old hat, common place, then why would we need courage?
Courage is doing what needs to be done in spite of what fear might be there.
Stop for a minute and think of a time when you should have taken some action but you didn’t. And I want you to remember why you didn’t act. Think about this. Why didn’t you act?
I want you to think of another time when you needed to act and you did not act. Or you didn’t act as fully as you should have. And I want you to remember why you didn’t.
What were the similarities between these events? What was common about them? If you think about it, you’re going to find that there was one common denominator, and maybe you’ll find a bunch, but there’s at least one, and that is there’s probably some kind of fear.
So here’s the question: What would have happened had you acted anyway? Go back to those two events that we just thought through. And ask yourself what would have happened had you acted anyway. Would it have worked out? What’s the worst that would have happened had things not gone the way you hoped?
Let’s go back to the first event that you thought of and let’s just say that whatever this event was, you chose either not to act or not to act as fully as you might have.
Might you have had success? What’s the absolute worst thing that would have happened had things not gone the way you hoped for? How bad could it have been? Would you have been thrown out? Would you have been cursed at? Would you have been told no?
And my next question is: Could you have lived with that? And I’ll bet you money that the answer is yes. I’ll bet you money that the answer is yes, you could have lived, with the worst that would have happened had things not gone the way you hoped for.
Oscar Wilde once said, “One’s real life is often the life that one does not lead.”
What is the real life that you’re not living because of a lack of courage? Conversely, in what ways have you acted despite your fear that have changed your life for the better?
Until Next Time,