Gladwell on Courage

“Courage is not something that you already have that makes you brave when the tough time start. Courage is what you earn when you’ve been through the tough times and you discover they aren’t so tough after all.”

I’m not sure whether I agree 100%… But this does begin explain Tough Mudder.

To me courage is what you have in the moment you do the right thing in spite of fear. Determination is the decision to keep going in spite of difficulty. Both are very hard to measure or feel in the moment you need them. Both are difficult to develop without trials.

What do you think?

One Comment

  1. Ken

    This is what I think and this is how I feel.

    There is no doubt in my mind, that, if every human on the planet, were subjected to a structured questionnaire, as to the relevance, of the word courage and what that word means, in each persons life, the amount of data obtained, would allow whom ever, that is administering the questionnaire, to establish a solid percentile…. establishing a demographic, in which the above quote concerning courage, would be supported………….Immediately below, you will read, what I believe, think, feel and know, are two prime examples, being the epitome, of the definition of courage open for discussion.

    First, the group of men that sold their lives dearly, at the Alamo………….if there ever, was a group of men/patriots, that had been prepared, because of the time period they were born into and by the decisions…….the every day decisions they faced, as they endured hardship, after hardship, after hardship, just to survive. Those men, those incredibly brave men………… of honor, men of integrity, that stood tall, they did not flinch, they did not blink, they did not shrink…………….these men, had essentially been prepared to stand atop those walls, from the day they were born.

    Second, the 300 Spartans, that, willingly, sold their lives dearly, as warriors, bread and prepared from birth, for the very day, so that the whole world, would know, that free men, stood against a tyrant, that few stood against many………….to ensure freedom…………this was an army of men, raised in a culture, that spawned a law…..No retreat….No surrender………….That is Sparta law…………….Come back with your shield or on it…………….there was no other option.

    Now, in my mind and in my heart, these two sterling examples, point, to the preparation, these men, were subjected to, by way of a culture, the very way of life, as with the 300 Spartans, or by the every day, decisions, that had to be made, not, just to be successful, and flourish, but, in order, to survive. These men, were the explorers, those willing to bust out from the pack, to seek the opportunity, to provide more for their family, they were, hacking through the wilderness, as they sought a better opportunity. That preparation, those decisions, were the refiners fire to prepare them, to stand willingly on those walls at the Alamo.

    I am sure, there are countless other examples, of courage displayed, all within the world of the military, or the logistical process of exploring this country, founding this great country of ours and establishing this great country of ours, as those, so bravely, so fearlessly, so willingly, to stand tall, as all those patriots, that played such an intricate part, in the founding of this country, the greatest country of this planet. Those, brilliant, brave, patriots, both men and women, sold their lives dearly. And again, these brilliant patriots, were prepared, by the time period they were born into and by the very day to day life experiences and decisions, they had to deal with, to survive, in the mid to late 1700’s……………….had there been no need to stand tall to shake the shackles of King George and the British empire, we would have never heard of them.

    Not for one second, am I comparing “Tough Mudder” which is nothing short of a fraternity pledge session, gone wild to the men of the Alamo, or the the 300 Spartans and certainly not comparing the brilliance, devotion, the patriotism and loyalty, of those brilliant Americans, who willingly spilled their blood, during the revolutionary war, on behalf of our freedom……….I am not, what I am doing, is pointing out true courage, the same degree of courage and level of resolve, that, is summoned every day, by countless of single moms and dads, expending every ounce of life force to pour into the child-children and their survival and progression.

    Below, are examples of true courage, of those that, walk amongst us, everyday, seeking no recognition, no limelight, but, continue to put their best foot forward, doing all they can, to uplift their families, their communities, their nation…………………..Not a fraternity pledge session gone wild.

    1. Study, every catastrophe that, occurs somewhere on our planet, that, takes place on an alarming rate, regardless, of the reason why and there are so many reasons, as to why they take place/materialize/come about, you will see the overwhelming evidence, as to whom, ran towards, the danger and whom, ran away. Soooo, what is the determining factor/the motivating factor, as to the reason, that, would motivate a fellow human being, to risk all they have, lay aside/push from their very psyche, their commitment to their family, all that is extremely precious to them, even their very life…………….to lay it all on the line, to sweep it all aside, by running to the danger, assisting/helping strangers, not giving one thought, as to their own safety.

    Since we are talking about the principle of courage, (I believe) versus, the individual acts of courage, how does anyone, explain, the courage, exhibited, by grade school children, reaching out/standing tall and saving other children and adults.

    Or the teenagers, acting out in a moments notice, not blinking, not flinching, not shrinking, but, instinctively acting, to save those around them, dashing back into a burning home, to rescue younger brothers and sisters, or dive into a ragging river, to save a friend, or class mate.

    Or the 18-19-20 year old in combat, that, in a blink of an eye, pushes his brothers and sisters in combat, out of the way, and throws himself, on top, of a live grenade, sacrificing his, extremely young and “inexperienced” life, on behalf of his brothers and sisters, in combat.

    The mom or dad, that, shields, their child, or the child under their stewardship, by placing themselves, in between, their child and the more times and not, lethal danger.

    The teacher, shielding, her or his students, from the building exploding around them, or the debris, being hurled at them, at the rate of 200 mph, by the F5..F4..F3 tornado, bearing down upon them.

    The businessman that was riding in coach, on flight 90 that impacted/crashed into the 14th street bridge and plunged through the ice covered Potomac river in the dead of winter, that selflessly refuses the life line, provided by the emergency helicopter, only to assist the five survivors, of the 74 on board……………he drown before they could get back to him.

    On 9-11-2001 how many non emergency response workers/professionals, returned over and over and over to assist, countless, strangers/fellow human beings, only to be restrained/prevented from returning to help……save more lives, was the fact, that the world trade centers, collapsed on top of the, extinguishing the very breath and energy, that, they, were so willing to spend, on behalf of those they did not know.

    As a former P.G.A golf professional, for several years, at one of this country’s most prestigious and elite golf clubs……..a master plan community, located in North Scottsdale Arizona, which provided me the opportunity, to teach/instruct, play countless rounds with and break bread with, on a weekly basis, dozens of the top fortune 500 company’s CEOs……………to a man, this is what, they all agreed with, when it comes to the character of a man and the game of golf, as it relates to the world of high finance…………The game of gold and golf, does not build the character…honor…integrity of a man…………… reveals a man’s true character…honor…integrity, or the lack there of.

    These men………………all of which I found, to be men of character….honor….integrity……………….felt strongly, honestly believed, we as humans are born, with that, trait and then, as children, by the adults, that care for us, insuring that trait, is fostered, nurtured, cultivated, developed as the gold standard, no pun intended………..the premium, principle in life, then, in times of crisis, that, will be, the pillars of strength we build our very lives on.

    Case in point………… many wallets, purses, full of money are returned intact, by the homeless, or those in sever need….. or the cab driver, that returned the bag full of 30.000 thousand dollars, cash, to its owner, that, did not have a clue, where he dropped it……..or the college students, that, upon purchasing an extremely used sofa at a goodwill store, get it home, only to discover, 40.000 thousand dollars cash, within it, as well as, a deposit slip, of the original owner, a little old lady, that did not trust banks………………did not blink, did not flinch, did not shrink, did not fight amongst themselves……….. they tracked down the original owner and happily returned every dollar.

    That is courage……..that is honor……….that is integrity………that is character.

    May we all exhibit and display such a level of courage, honor, character and integrity, within the walls of our individual homes, ensuring that, our children are prepared, to show such courage, by running towards the danger, not from it, to not shrink, or flinch, when a wallet or purse is discovered…………..more importantly, never lie, deceive, or betray, the mom or dad of our children……………that is the highest level of honor, character, integrity and courage.

    God bless you all


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