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Rated: E · Article · How-To/Advice · #1193945
Courage is not the absence of fear, but something quite different

By: 2005 Mike Shanta

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 most 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. 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?

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 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 dreams and to better themselves; especially, 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 those questions is simple- it takes 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 than
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 I first decided to try my hand at designing a website and starting a news letter I had a knot in my stomach for the first couple of months. This is something I had never done before. As a matter of fact, I had never even considered such a thing. I told a lot of people about my plans, and the fear of not succeeding was definitely there. There was also some financial investment that I made, which I really couldn't afford with my being laid off of work at the time. I'm also sure there were some who were thinking my time would be better spent looking for a new job rather than wasting my time on foolish pursuits. 

But, I had a vision of something more than what my life had been up to that point. Looking back at what I went through, and what I'm still going through, I believe I was exhibiting courage. It was not because I wasn't afraid, because I certainly was. Why I believe I acted with courage is because I felt the fear, but didn't let it keep me from following my dreams.

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's much easier to see
your self exercising courage. 

If on the other hand you're under the false assumption that courage is the absence of fear, you'll never step outside your comfort zone, you'll never take risks, and you'll let fear hold you back; and there by 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. The 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. Most of us will never be required to exercise that kind of courage; For most of us the risk is much more forgiving. You might lose some time, some money, and maybe some pride at the most. But, if you would only just keep trying, keep pressing toward your goals, and not let failure or fear stop you, then you can accomplish great things.

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, at least you will have learned a way not to do that thing. If you do succeed, you will have taken a big step toward bettering yourself and your life.

But don't stop there, keep stretching yourself, keep challenging your
self. Never accept mediocrity in your life, you need to Feel The Fear And
Do It Anyway. 

Remember, courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the jugement that something else is more important than fear. 

Wishing you courage and success in every area of your life.
© Copyright 2006 MichaelD (nvr2late at Writing.Com). All rights reserved.
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