Flavors Of Courage

The first image that comes to your head when you try to define courage?… Probably something fiery, audacious and bold. Something active. Something spectacular.

To a certain extent, this image is very true. Courage is, most of the time, a daring jump in front of danger.

But, as with all things in life, there are nuances to this. There are flavors of courage. Some of them so subtle, that we may not even notice them. Some of them so counterintuitive, that we won’t even define that attitude as “courage”. And yet, you need a lot of internal power to act that way. Here are two of these not-so-easy-to-classify-as-courage attitudes.

Know You Have 0.1% Chances To Succeed, And Still Do It

Some things in life are worth trying, no matter what. But most of the time the chances to actually get those things are really small.

So, it takes courage to plunge into something 100%, knowing that you have almost zero chances to succeed. I’ve done that in business, starting projects borderline impossible, and I’ve done that in personal relationships, getting involved in thoroughly imbalanced interactions. In both cases, I knew beforehand that I may never get what I expect. But I took my chances. And when the fail was obvious, I didn’t blame anyone. Not even myself.

At the end of the day, it’s not reaching the goal that counts – although that feels incredibly good – but what you did to get there. Even if you didn’t reach that goal, the fact that you acted with courage will count even more. Even if you failed, you did flex the “courage” muscle, and that muscle will serve you well from now on.

Resist Aggression Without Engaging

There is a huge difference between power and aggression. Aggressive people, most of the time, are masking their weakness and insecurities by shouting, pushing and projecting the image of a mighty, dominating personality, whereas in fact all they want is to create some space around, some safe buffer, just because they’re afraid.

It takes a lot of internal power to resist aggression without fighting back. (I’m talking mostly about verbal or psychological aggression, just to be clear. Physical aggression is a different thing, but that too, can be managed in a way that’s not long term damaging). It takes power to hold your ground in the middle of the storm and stay consistent to yourself. It takes power not to fight back, it takes power to give up some of your space and regroup.

And that’s a sign of courage. It looks counterintuitive, because all you’re doing is staying there, in the middle of all that yelling, not giving in to anger. And yet, the mere fact that you’re avoiding anger is, long term, a thousand times more valuable than, for instance, some temporary victory in the current context.

Courage comes in many shapes. But no matter the shape, the mere fact that you’re practicing it, you’re “flexing” that muscle, will put you in a better position to navigate life, even – or, perhaps, especially – when everything is calm around you.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.