Courage is best engaged with an clear mind and an open heart.
As we conclude our conversation about courage this week, consider Rollo May’s insight:
“The acorn becomes an oak by means of automatic growth; no commitment is necessary. The kitten similarly becomes a cat on the basis of instinct. Nature and being are identical in creatures like them. But a man or woman becomes fully human only by his or her choices and his or her commitment to them. People attain worth and dignity by the multitude of decisions they make from day to day. These decisions require courage.”
Today, notice where courage is required as you make choices.
The courage to express yourself, to love, to contribute, to create, to serve, to receive, to thrive, to imagine . . . to live a life that works brilliantly on all levels.
Ever heard the expression, “Whistling past the graveyard?” It takes courage to walk past a graveyard at night because it’s scary. Choosing to whistle and / or make light of the situation is a way of getting through it.
We’re discussing courage this week and the ways to summon courage. You can have a dialogue with your fears – actually talk to them, as in: “Hey, it’s you again, Anxiety! Yep, my old friend ANXIETY. I don’t really need you to be here. You’re not helping the situation. Why don’t you just go away? If you have to stay, just keep quiet; okay? I know your point of view. I choose courage over you.” This is a useful strategy for acknowledging the anxiety, but deciding to make a different, more powerful, choice.
A similar approach is what is called gallows humor. Here’s an example. Late in her career as a film goddess, Tallulah Bankhead was asked, “Are you Tallulah Bankhead,” to which she replied, “I’m what’s left of her.” She chose to be humorous in the face of inevitable physical aging – and the result was a funny, but heart-centered, response. Courage can elicit poignancy in human beings and our desire to brave difficult circumstances.
Are there places in your life where either having a “conversation” or using “gallows humor” would be useful strategies for dealing with difficulty and moving forward with courage?
Can you think of examples where you have “whistled past the graveyard” and / or used gallows humor to get through tough times?
The author, Osho, says:
“This very readiness to remain in uncertainty is courage. This very readiness to be in uncertainty is trust. And intelligent person is one who remains alert whatsoever the situation – and responds to it with his whole heart. Not that he knows what is going to happen, not that he knows, ‘Do this and that will happen.’ Life is not a science; it is not a cause and effect chain. Heat the water to a hundred degrees and it evaporates – it is a certainty. But in real life, nothing is certain like that.”
Each of us gets to choose our relationship to uncertainty. We can choose to accept uncertainty and act from solid commitments as described above with a “whole heart.” What and whom are you committed to? What and whom do you love? Are you committed to your own happiness and the happiness of others in the face of uncertainty?
How does it feel to embrace uncertainty, yet have the courage – the “whole heart” – to move forward anyway? Think of some examples in your own life and / or that you have observed in the lives of others.
As an experiment today, try to be with uncertainty – and then focus on your core commitments. Observe how it feels to embrace not knowing, yet choosing powerfully and courageously anyway.
Think of three ways that you’d like to demonstrate courage this week.
COURAGE – our topic for the week! Courage is about being FOR something so much that you’ll take risks on its behalf.
Courage contains risk. Risk is exposure to possible harm or damage – maybe even danger. We make risk-reward decisions constantly in our lives – even in simple purchase decisions like, “If I buy this product, will it deliver at least to my satisfaction?” Risk involves some calculation of the probabilities of success.
How would you describe your relationship to risk?
Are you risk averse? Are you a gambler? Something in between?
For you, what is the relationship between risk and courage? Is there anything that you’d really like to do that scares you? How do you see your bridging the gap from risk to courage to reward? Is virtue its own reward — that is, is courage its own reward?
Our topic this week is COURAGE, an essential element of the successful study of results.
The word “courage” comes from “couer,” the French word for “heart.” Thus, when we say someone has courage, it means that they have heart. Think Richard the Lionhearted.
Daily life requires heart for us to move forward in all but the most mundane of life’s experiences. Courage to grow, to confront perceived obstacles and to figure them out . . . the courage to be real and open. Courage to not know all the answers and to continue to strive toward your goals anyway.
When have you had great experiences with courage?
Where could you use expanded courage?
How does one grow courage?
What do you do and how do you change who you’re being to be more courageous?