Thursday, March 02, 2006


Courage is often misunderstood. Usually we only think of those heroic deeds that get people mentioned on the news. Real courage comes when we face ourselves and make painful decisions that will make things better. Real courage comes when we fear the known and unknown and yet do what we must.

I have been through some scary life changing incidents over the years. Some of them I planned for and some were unexpected. I made some good decisions and some bad decisions. I survived all of those incidents, but recovered faster from those I faced when confident in my convictions.

When we look at a situation and plan for it we gain some control over it. There is still uncertainty but we become prepared and ready to adapt. We are no longer a bystander being controlled by the situation but a participant influencing the future. We may even take control of the situation itself.

Changing from someone being controlled into a controller is very liberating. It is also very frightening. We feel so relieved that the burden has been lifted from us and yet we fear responsibility. If things go wrong we may unwisely claim responsibility for any of the pain, anger and confusion that results. We must not blame ourselves for taking control of our lives unless we make others lose control of theirs by doing so. They control their own attitudes and emotions.

Is there a recipe or method for courage? No, but it may work like this:

  1. Something in your life needs to change.

  2. You think about it and talk to others about it if possible.

  3. You work out what needs to change and how it might be done.

  4. You make a decision.

  5. You act.

  6. You take responsibility for your actions but not other people's reactions.
  7. You review the experience and learn from it.

Being courageous is hard but very satisfying. We learn so much and grow as individuals.

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