WHAT DO I MEAN BY impoverished courage? First of all, the predominant cultural understanding of courage has become limited and impoverished. Nowadays, only facing fear under perilous circumstances tends to receive the courage label or award. Running into a burning building to save a child, pushing a pedestrian out of the way of a speeding car, throwing oneself on a grenade in battle, or tackling an escaping robber are readily accepted as courageous behaviors.
Our understanding of courage makes an enormous difference. Why? There are so many myths out there about courage! One radio announcer said, “It’s the man who pulls a guy out of the Potomac River when a plane goes down or the guy who runs into a burning building to get some kid out, that’s courageous, not some woman who teaches in a hard-luck school in the ghetto for twenty-five years because ‘they need her’ or some kid who sends in his allowance to the Red Cross when there’s a flood in Africa, or the guy who tells on a cheating boss. These are nice people, but they’re not courageous! Real courage takes a lot of muscle and split-second thinking.”
In my opinion, this radio announcer denigrates true courage by confining it to physical boldness. Most ideas about courage lean toward split-second sensationalism that relies on instinct instead of integrity. Perhaps this man believes only larger-than-life people possess the prime personality traits capable of responding in an emergency. Yet, in between, there’s all of life for us “everyday people.” Besides, plenty of ordinary people like Rosa Parks have made their mark on history along with other “famous” people such as Winston Churchill, Nelson Mandela and Mother Teresa. What I am suggesting is that everyday people like you and me display courage constantly and subtly, and this everyday courage hinges on the personal integrity that empowers us to manifest the truth of our “heart and spirit.” With courage, David Hawkins, M.D. writes in Reality, Spirituality, and Modern Man, “one then becomes the beneficiary of human life instead of its victim.”
Becoming aware of the behaviors and rewards of courage, a person feels more empowered to be discerning and better able to respond to the inherent energy of courage. The word virtue in Latin means “energy.” Hiding courage drains energy, but when courage is recognized and acted on a reservoir of courage overflows. Join me again to learn more about my thirteen years of original courage research.
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Sandra Ford Walston is known as The Courage Expert and innovator of StuckThinking™. She is an organizational effectiveness consultant, speaker, internationally published author of bestseller COURAGE, trainer and courage coach. She is certified in the Enneagram and MBTI®. www.sandrawalston.com.
Sandra Ford Walston, The Courage Expert
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Sandra, Being fortunate to have had you as a guest on The Soul Salon radio program and to have read your book, COURAGE, I still learn from you-- the many ways to define courage. You always make me think... and grow. Thanks so much! :+)RR
Rena M. Reese 1249 days ago