What is Courage? What does it mean and what does it take to have courage? I’ve heard it said, “Courage is a lie that old men tell to young men when they send them off to die.” A clever maxim, yet I believe there is more to courage than that. One of my favorite John Wayne quotes is:
“Courage is being scared to death…but saddling up anyways.”
If you believe what the late-great Duke said, Fear is an active ingredient in courage. How can this be? Isn’t courage the absence of fear? Aren’t the bravest of the brave those without fear? The correct answer here is…no.
Courage is not about feeling no fear at all—a double negative, yet true nonetheless. You cannot have courage without fear. Courage and bravery mean having fear while maintaining the ability to move forward in spite of your obstacles, real or imagined, and get the job done. If you have no fear, then it doesn’t take any special fortitude. Nothing out of the ordinary in the way of grit or guts to keep you on track for deeds of daring do. You’re just doing your job—no problemo. It is when you have fear and then combine it with the need to keep moving forward anyways—this is when courage comes into play.