When we speak of greatness, we speak of one father quality; one quality too difficult for most people to show – the rare quality of Courage. The act of courage, while desirable, is never very pretty. With courage comes pain. And while on television, courage is glamorized as a laudable virtue, it is, in reality, responsible for the demise of many. Because of courage, lives have perished, sights have been lost, mutilations have been experienced, and great sufferings have been known. Where there is courage, there is pain!
This is not to say that courage is a vice. On the contrary, courage is a mighty virtue. It is a crucial element in the formula for accomplishing great goals. But courage is essentially ugly, even though it is desirable. Many can dream of exhibiting courage, but very few can put themselves through it. Courage can destroy you, even though it is for a good course. Soldiers, out of courage, have lost their eyes, arms, legs, and fingers in battles. The excruciation of courage is great, which is why cowardice is too easy.
Courage could also be misguided. You may exhibit courage for a stupid course. For example, suicide bombers exhibit the courage to take their own lives, but for such a foolish course. Some people abacinate themselves (burn their eyes) in the name of religion, but is that even a wise thing to do? Such people are so confident that they are doing the right thing, and of course it takes courage to abacinate oneself. Exhibiting courage does not necessarily mean that you are making a wise decision. It also takes courage to develop one’s abilities to an unprecedented degree, with the aim to steal from banks or blow up nations.
Courage and cowardice in various areas are as a result of our beliefs, views, and sense of purpose (Research also shows that they may have some links to natural brain chemistry). I wouldn’t bomb myself and a city because I don’t believe in such nonsense, but a religious bigot may have the courage to do so because of his beliefs. I tend to be loyal to the people I have sworn loyalty to, however unpleasant circumstances may be, because of my view concerning loyalty and trust, but this may not be the same for another person who has no such views.
Courage is the foundation for all other virtues needed to help you excel in life. You cannot exhibit patience, perseverance, and stoicism if you lack courage. Patience might as well be defined as a different kind of courage. Patience, as far as this subject is concerned, is the ability to endure the unpleasant situations around your life as you strive to accomplish a certain goal. It is the ability to bear the ridicules, imperfections, harsh conditions, and poor choices you make, without letting them lower your doggedness and resolve.
Courage cannot be shown without adherence to a belief, and without the awareness of the risks involved. Unless one’s belief about a subject is very strong, one cannot always act in consistency with such belief. And unless one is aware of the great risks involved for having such belief, one cannot show courage. Courage is not confidence. Confidence is having absolute certainty that something will happen or that something can be done. Courage, on the other hand, is the awareness that a person may suffer a great loss, but such person must stand for what they strongly believe in. Courage is believing that someone can succeed, although with the awareness that failure is also possible.
For example, you cannot show the courage needed to accomplish great goals if you do not have an unshakeable belief that these great goals can be accomplished by you. And essentially, you must have some degree of fear for your positive persistence to qualify as courage. A pilot will not fly his plane through a storm if he is not positive that he will make it through; remember he is also afraid of the storm. While fear says ‘It is impossible’, Courage says ‘It is possible’. If you read about all the courageous men of the century, they acted valiantly because they strongly believed in their courses. Some of these men died tragically, some suffered great loss, some triumphed, but all of them believed that they were standing for something of great importance.
Whatever it is you need courage to achieve, it can always feel like an ordeal. If it didn’t feel like an ordeal, then you wouldn’t need courage to accomplish it. It is passion and courage that keeps a prospective achiever going when the going seems tough. Through courage, you can achieve your dreams, succeed in that business, pass that examination, travel around the world, and change lives. Courage is a risk. Some people show it and experience failure, while other people show it and experience success. It is not a guarantee that you will experience success; courage could be shown in vain. You can exhibit courage for a futile course. But what’s real is that without courage, you cannot accomplish your positive goal. Without courage, you cannot realize your dreams; maybe with courage, you may not realize your dreams, but without it, you ‘cannot’ realize your dreams. So, are you willing to take the risk?