In this world without courage
It is the greatest quality
in the mind next to honor – Aristotle
I’ve been thinking a lot recently about courage. There’s a good deal of life-changing going on around me. New job opportunities, kids graduating into the world, traveling the world, and finding their way. Elders getting older, and fading. There’s no stopping it – I sometimes feel like a cat trying to find purchase on a slippery incline, or these cars trying to stop on an icy turn.
I always go back to my library in times like this, which is stacked with half-read books, especially the texts from my OSR days. One such book is Leading from Within, where I found this wonderful poem:
Courage is the price which life extracts 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.
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
Finally, there’s an excellent article via Inc magazine by Andrew Thomas. In it he has ten tips about building self confidence. Let’s see a few:
2. Avoid comparing yourself with others.
In almost every case, when you compare yourself with someone else, it takes the form of negative self-talk about how you’re not good enough. Doing this weakens self-confidence. The only person you need to compare yourself with is the version of yourself that you want to become. That’s it.
6. Take action.
Fear can be paralyzing. Ignore the voice in your head telling you that you can’t do something, and take action anyway. The more you let fear hold you back, the stronger the negative voice will become. It works in the other direction too: The more you take action, the quieter the negative voice will become.
8. Focus on the positive.
Negative self-talk and pessimism are a vicious cycle, and a drain on your confidence. Focus on your positive attributes instead of perceived weaknesses; focus on your accomplishments rather than on your perceived failures. Keep focused on what is working instead of what is not working.
If you want to see all of his ten, check him out here.
Risk something! This is the way to practice. Get a real sense of the risk, of course, and ensure that it does not result in catastrophic loss if you fail. The idea is to extend yourself into discomfort on occasion because that’s where the growth happens. These are calculated risks, but risks nonetheless, and taking them with courage is key to a fulfilling life.
What will you have courage about in the find month of May?