On Courage

I was once told that courage can be learned; I’m still waiting on the scale to tip in my favor though as I still haven’t learned it well enough.

How does one define courage? I think it is most simply this: Courage is not giving up in the face of adversity. I was going to add “great” before the word adversity but that kind of goes without saying as trivial adversity is not writing home about.

Have you exemplified courageous behavior lately? Have you ever really faced true adversity? Many of us have lived a life so sheltered that we have fabricated stories that seem to highlight acts of courage when all we’ve faced in reality is which path we should choose so that we might succeed a little bit more.

For example, choosing what college to go to is not adversity; the simple fact that you had choices in the first place excludes you from that frame.

No, real courage forces you to confront yourself, your own fears and anxieties and imperfections. The encounter is always painful. And through sheer force of will you cannot be stopped even if it is a dead-out sprint away from the pain as the starting block.

Am I absolutely determined to succeed? Are you? What are you really willing to give up for your goals, your hopes, your dreams? Will you be destroyed? Probably. Will you ricochet between certainty and doubt? Yup. Will it feel like you’re a tad bit crazy? Sure.

But if you don’t do it now then, well, let’s admit it – you probably never will. And you won’t ever do it then will you have ever truly lived? Will you have ever discovered what it’s really like to be oneself, yourself?

I do not think I mind waking up feeling as if the world is about to collapse or implode – I just want to make sure that I wake up knowing that I intentionally chose to live in that world instead of being a victim of circumstance and random consequence.