“Like beauty, courage is only in the eye of the beholder. Courage is the act of doing what one feels is right despite one’s fears. The greater the fear, the greater the courage necessary to overcome it and do the right thing. Where there is no fear, there can be no courage.
“Many heroes reveal in interviews how frightened they were at the time of their heroic acts — some explain that they so desperate they felt they had no choice; others were so inspired by the actions of others that they just joined in and helped out without a second thought; still others admit that they did what they did before they even had a chance to think; and there are some whose brave actions were a result of righteous indignation and rage. But you’ll never hear a hero boast of feeling a surge of courage.
“I have seen many frightened people wait for courage to arrive while they waste precious time suffering pain and loss of self-respect. they await the abatement of their fear and the onset of courage — to confront their wife, husband, or boss, to look for a job, to go back to school. they will wait forever. The feeling of courage will never come because it doesn’t exist. You are only courageous when you do what you feel is right despite your fear. Everyone feels fear, so everyone can be courageous.
“What can help you act courageously? Inspiration by the action of others in similar situations and desperation about your own situation can be tremendously helpful!
“An excellent way to get accustomed to being courageous is to place yourself in unfamiliar and frightening situations which require you to learn and grow — such as participating in Outward Bound or Toastmasters or traveling alone through an unfamiliar area — despite your fears of failure.
“When you try new things you may be frightened. But afterwards you will feel a surge of self-respect and you will have gained competence and confidence. You will also have taken a step towards self-acceptance and the elimination of self-doubt.”
From Get Out of Your Own way! by Tom Rusk
It takes courage to write dangerously — and to find that courage, we need to act, to do what we need to do, despite our fears. Without fear, there is no courage. Write on.