There's only one corner of the universe you can be certain of improving, and that's your own self.
-- Aldous Huxley

 

   

The MONTHLY Motivator - September 2004

Courage

Courage gives you access to the best that life has to offer. No matter what else you have going for you, without courage you will eventually run into obstacles that you cannot get past. With courage, you can make the very best use of your skills, your knowledge, your opinions, and your unique perspective. Courage will enable you to bring about the fulfillment of the goals you have set for yourself, in spite of the challenges you must face in doing so. Acting with courage gives you the ability to live your values, to pursue a life of integrity, to remain focused on your vision, regardless of what happens in the world around you.

What does it take to have courage? Nothing. You already have it. All you need is a good enough reason to use it. When the reason is there, when the desire is compelling enough, your courage will manifest. To access your courage requires that you constantly keep yourself focused on the things that are truly important to you.

Courage comes from commitment, and commitment comes from a knowledge and understanding of yourself and your world, to the point that you’re compelled to follow a clear and well-defined purpose. It is not easy, and yet it is universally available to anyone. Courage is a powerful resource that can be effectively used by anyone who has enough reason to do so. Courage requires no money, or special training, or permission from others. It simply requires willingness and purpose.

Courage is not something you get. It is something you use. Like your brain, courage is already there, and it becomes more powerful the more you use it. You must be willing to use it or it will be of no use to you.

Know yourself

To get in touch with your courage, you must get in touch with yourself. It is nearly impossible to act with courage against your own sense of purpose and meaning. If you’ve ever tried to muster the courage to do something that you don’t really believe in, most likely you’ve ended up wondering why you could not bring yourself to do it.

True courage requires a reason. It cannot be faked. Without a compelling reason, what passes for courage is nothing more than bravado or just plain foolishness.

This goes beyond mere goals. Goals are important because they are clear, specific, pragmatic and measurable in their attainment. Yet goals are, at their best, an expression of purpose. The courage necessary to achieve any goal must have its basis in the deeper purpose behind that goal.

What is the driving purpose of your life? Why do you pursue the specific set of goals that you have chosen? To access and make use of your courage requires that you honestly answer these questions. The operative word here is “why.” Ask yourself why. When you find an answer, ask why again and again until you get to the very heart of your purpose.

That can be a difficult and even painful exercise. And it can also be extremely rewarding. Look deeply into yourself and your motivations, and you will find plenty of courage. Your courage depends on what you value. It also depends on what you have to lose.


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—Ralph Marston