Courage is the ability to face uncertainty. Courage is not something we are born with, but something we develop through practice. To be courageous means to be scared senseless and still act. Courage is not acting without fear, but triumphing over fear. Society paints this picture that courageous people are these fearless wonders who brazenly act without any consciousness of fear. I’ve learned from my own experience that courage is acting when fear is on our backs, clawing at us. Either we fight, or we give in.
Being courageous is risking our vulnerability to be better and to produce a better outcome. We are courageous when we are at the risk of embarrassment, disappointment, rejection, physical harm when we follow our heart. When we give in to fear and not act courageous we are forfeiting the chance to grow. We grow every time we act courageously.
I’ve learned the faster we run from the things we don’t want to confront or deal with, the faster those things catch us with us. By facing those fears, we break the chain of control they have on us.
When we give into fear or cowardice we are sacrificing long term good, growth, security, and happiness for a very short-term sense of security. But there can never be a true sense of security when that foundation is built on fear, evil, or cowardice. True freedom is the ability not to be controlled by fear, and we are granted true freedom by being courageous. If we run from what is good because it doesn’t conform to our own wants, wishes, or desires we are indeed acting as a coward.
Aristotle wrote “But to die to escape from poverty or love or anything painful is not the mark of a brave man, but rather of a coward; for it is softness to fly from what is troublesome, and such a man endures death not because it is noble but to fly from evil.” You will know a true heart by the courage it displays.
Aristotle believed courage was the mean between cowardice and rashness, or would I like to refer as foolishness.
A fool will boast of courage until the rubber meets the road and that courage is tested. When that happens the fool and coward will suddenly disappear. We are great actors until we forget our lines. I’ve met many of men and even myself at times that boasted of courage, but when the circumstances and pain became too great we folded under pressure.
Brave men do not boast of their courageous actions beforehand.
“The rash man, however, is also thought to be boastful and only a pretender to courage; at all events, as the brave man is with regard to what is terrible, so the rash man wishes to appear; and so, he imitates him in situations where he can. Hence also most of them are a mixture of rashness and cowardice; for, while in these situations they display confidence, they do not hold their ground against what is really terrible. The man who exceeds in fear is a coward; for he fears both what he ought not and as he ought not, and all the similar characterizations attach to him. He is lacking also in confidence; but he is more conspicuous for his excess of fear in painful situations.”
Courage is not without costs, endure the short term of pain to revel in the long term of gain.