Definitions: (1) facing and dealing with anything recognized as difficult or painful instead of withdrawing from it; (2) that firmness of spirit that meets danger or hardship without fear; strength of character; (3) the quality of being mentally or morally fearless or brave; valorous; intrepid
Courage implies firmness of mind and will in the face of danger or extreme difficulty; mettle suggests an ingrained capacity for meeting strain or difficulty with fortitude and resilience; resolution stresses firm determination to achieve one’s ends; spirit also suggests a quality of temperament enabling one to hold one’s own or keep one’s morale when opposed or threatened; tenacity adds to resolution implications of stubborn persistence.
• These may also be considered antidotes to fear either singly or in combination. Yet courage and boldness are not really antidotes to fear, they are more positive reaction mechanisms.
• If your focus is good enough, your attentiveness is good enough. You perceive the rattlesnake before it has a chance to bother you. Then you just take a wide path so you don’t even experience the fear because your attentiveness gives you an alternate path.
• You are not as afraid of the things you have already experienced.
• To be prepared gives you a look into possible futures. If you are climbing a cliff you may try a handhold but then decide it is a bad choice. This is acceptable as long as you have a good foothold, and your other hand is firmly set. Since you are securely positioned, you can see where your next handhold should be, therefore no fear is necessary.
Too Far: foolhardy
There are worse things than dying. — Judy Kain (1948 – )
One man with courage makes a majority.
— Andrew Jackson (1767-1845) 7th President of the United States
Courage is fear holding on a minute longer.
— George S. Patton (1885-1945) American General
— Anaïs Nin (1903-1977) French-Cuban Author
With courage you will dare to take risks, have the strength to be compassionate, and the wisdom to be humble. Courage is the foundation of integrity. — Dr. Keshavan Nair (1910-2005) Indian Professor of Surgery
Note: The quality of courage is indispensable as a supporting structure for other qualities.
Inspiration: Courage is infectious. It has the ability to buoy the courage of the less courageous.
Reflection: Any means or mechanism that protects you from fear is valuable because it works to some degree. You cannot expect to reach the most sophisticated and appropriate method in one huge leap. Once a technique is recognized as less than perfect, then it is time to face the next step and develop a more polished system for avoiding or facing fear.
You may look back and say, “When I was a child, I was obedient, and therefore, I avoided fear because I was protected. When I was young, I would cower or run away, and therefore I avoided harm. When I was little older, I would intellectualize, and yet this was just a another form of running away. But as I faced my fear, I became more courageous in the way I handled myself and my environment.”
• Courage has a lot to do with the willingness to go through fear. When you have an opportunity, you face the problem with choice: to either go through or not. That’s where the courage comes in.
• We each have a threshold of pain; we also have a threshold of conflict. No matter how well developed your threshold of conflict, you will create or encounter circumstances pushing that limit. Measure your success against your acceptance of, and management of, the conflicts you encounter. This includes reducing conflict by backing off. It also includes facing conflict with clarity and determination – not just willpower – but also finesse and creativity. One must have the energy and fortitude to fight, or the wisdom to hold back and prepare.
One way of dealing with fear is giving up or releasing it. When you do, you let it pass through you – you accept it but do not embrace it. When you feel its grip, you may process it, or simply push on through it. Whatever you do, you have to control it before it can freeze your resolve.
• The real problem with death is fear.
• Fear of the unknown is the greatest of fears. Your own imagination can bring you to your knees.
• You learn more from your failures than from your successes. Your failures give you the courage, the knowledge, and the will to change things enough to create success. That is your edge.
• Did Rosa Parks generate the courage to sit in the front of the bus at the moment of the decision or was it a lifetime of building courage culminating in the defining moment of her life? It is possible for the former to be true, but more often the latter is the case.
• Fear is negative power, and yet there is a way to switch fear into positive power under your control. Focus on the energy as an object. If you are inside its field, then it has control of you; but if you are outside of it, then you can take possession of it and use it for your purpose.
When you’re fearful during an experience, if you focus on what can be done or must be done, you can move forward. It is also a time to test your limits. You may not overcome completely but even a little is progress.
Accomplishments achieved enkindle enthusiasm and curiosity.
Colors: red, scarlet
Symbol: the sword