Courage is recognized in its action, not exposition. Words cannot capture what it means to be
courageous. One must experience the courage to understand fully.
The courage needed to press forward into enemy territory facing machine gun nests ripping and
tearing fellow soldiers apart in an agonizing and grotesque cacophony of terror has a different
feeling. In-depth yet shares similar aspects to the courage needed of a father facing the dreadful
agony and suffering of burying his only child after a tragic accident. What are the differences?
Who can answer? If you were to ask a thousand people what courage means to them, you would
likely receive as many different responses. Courage on the battlefield has a different feeling than
courage in the face of suffering. Or perhaps, the courage needed to speak in public. Is it that the
amount of fear experienced by someone determines the quality and depth of courage needed and
required at that moment?
Wikipedia defines courage as “The choice and willingness to confront agony, pain,
danger, uncertainty, or intimidation.”
Dictionary.com defines it as “the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to
go through difficulty, danger, pain, etc., without fear; bravery.”
Having courage does not mean one has no fear. One might be extremely fearful yet somehow
steps into the courage to accomplish the task or rise to the challenge and overcome anyways.
Soldiers in battle have said that courage didn’t show up until after the battle was fought. That
it took real courage to step back onto the battlefield to face the horrors of war again and again.
Nelson Mandela said, “I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the
triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers
Never overcoming fear is decay, not growth. Avoiding challenges and shrinking from fear will
keep one on a very narrow path of average mediocrity. It is the journey and action of taking
risks, making commitments, and the motion and movement of following through when we
have gut-wrenching fear that broadens our path and increases and expands our growth. Out
of this movement, opportunities are seemingly born. Stepping into courage, one better recognizes
these opportunities – they seem to arise from nowhere. Actually, those same opportunities existed
before the action of stepping into courage; however, when we are stagnant and frozen living in
fear, it is as though we are blinded to the possibilities and the potential for a better quality of life.
You are not alone in this – our battle to live in courage. The more we choose to live from courage,
the more we will draw others into our space living in courage. Living a courageous life produces
great benefits, which bring a deeper level of satisfaction and fulfillment.
A great line in the movie, WE BOUGHT A ZOO, seems to sum it up well. “You know,
sometimes all you need is twenty seconds of insane courage. Just literally twenty
seconds of just embarrassing bravery. And I promise you, something great will come