Courage as you least expect it

Some people say that courageous people are never afraid.

Not true.  They are afraid all the time.

The difference between someone who is brave, and someone who is a coward, is that the brave person acts in spite of their fear, while the coward lets it win.

Courage is also seeing the truth, as it really is, rather than how we would want it to be.  It means not settling for the explanations that are given to us, but digging deeply, checking our own sources, and thinking critically about the result.   There are so many common misconceptions that would be seen through if more people had the courage to see clearly.

It takes courage to shout the truth – it takes more courage to speak it, politely and in a reasoned way.  More people need to pause, consider their words, and then speak only the truth rather than resorting to shadings or leaning on the common rhetoric.

Here is a post I did about courage that has some tips for overcoming fear if you, too, want to be brave.

After all, cowardice is not a life sentence.



via Daily Prompt: Courage

Courage: Teaching myself to be brave



Courage is the price that Life exacts for granting peace.

The soul that knows it not
Knows no release from little things:
Knows not the livid loneliness of fear,
Nor mountain heights where bitter joy can hear the sound of wings.

Nor can life grant us boon of living, compensate
For dull gray ugliness and pregnant hate
Unless we dare
The soul’s dominion.
Each time we make a choice, we pay
With courage to behold the resistless day, And count it fair.


Amelia Earhart


Amelia Earhart wrote these words in her twenties, while she was still in college. She had yet to do all the amazing things she did later. This poem is a great reminder of not only what it takes to be courageous, but also why we should be brave, and what our lives are like without courage.

“Daring the soul’s dominion” means, to me, that brave act of choosing how we wish to feel and doing what we wish to do, guided by our minds, rather than surrendering to the tyranny of our emotions. It also means that we must be brave enough to make a choice and face the results, come what may.

With the final line, I think that it also can take courage to face troubles and worries and fears, and yet think that the day will be a good one. Being positive is, after all, a good choice.

I wrote this couplet when I was in flight school, in the same vein:


Each day is a good day because it’s a day not a night,

each flight is a good flight.

What does Courage really mean?


It takes more than running from a fight to make a coward. It can also mean avoiding confrontation of any kind, or avoiding competition at all costs.  It can mean never taking a risk, not speaking your mind, or never improving what you do.

For example, I have always been inclined to avoid competition, mostly because I believed I would always lose and I couldn’t handle defeat. What I never admitted to myself is that it makes me a coward. I kidded myself into thinking I was not a coward because I didn’t get into fights, so how else could I show my bravery?  I conveniently forgot that I never competed, played dirty tricks when I argued, and at the final test of bravery, when mastering my fear would have given me my pilot’s license, I failed there too. Sure, there were other factors, but social anxiety was my downfall.  It’s no excuse, because as a sapient being I should have been able to override it.

I’m not trying to whine here, nor beat myself up, but rather use my experience as an example to help make my point.

Knowing this about myself, where do I go from here, or where does another person go who has the same realization?  After all, modern society encourages cowardice.  How do we turn that around?

First, it’s important to recognize that fear doesn’t have to be in control.

We all have the ability to choose our actions no matter what our emotion is.

Bravery is a habit that can be built.

We can start small, build confidence, and move from there.

This takes practice and failure is not a reason to quit trying.  If we keep trying, embrace our fears and move through them, we can start to win more often, until we win all the time.

There’s good news, though! Cowardice is not a life sentence, we can free ourselves at any time.


I’ll finish here with one of my favorite poems.



Courage is the price which life exacts for granting peace.
The soul that knows it not, knows no release
From little things;

Knows not the livid loneliness of fear
Nor mountain heights, where bitter joy you can hear
The sound of wings.

How can life grant us boon of living, compensate,
For dull gray ugliness and pregnant hate
Unless we dare

The soul’s dominion? Each time we make a choice we pay
With courage to behold resistless day
And count it fair.

-Amelia Earhart