Some days ago I wrote the story of Malala and the courage to follow our dreams. But what is courage really and how does it affect other parts of our personality? What does “courage” have to do with being a person of good character…with someone who stays true to their principles and their values?
ANSWER: EVERYTHING! You see, being values-driven means two things:Doing what’s right – following our conscience; refusing to compromise our principles, despite pressures and temptations to the contrary, and taking a stand against what’s wrong – speaking out, whenever we see others do things that are incorrect or inappropriate.
Unquestionably, both of those require guts and fortitude…they require courage.
Courage is…Following your conscience instead of “following the crowd”.Refusing to take part in hurtful or disrespectfu9l behaviors.Sacrificing personal gain for the benefit of others.Speaking your mind even though others don’t agree.Taking complete responsibility for your actions…and your mistakes.Following the rules – and insisting that others do the same.Challenging the status quo in search of better ways.Doing what you know is right- regardless of the risks and potential consequences.
I’d like to share the “Cadet Prayer” that is repeated during chapel services at the U.S. Military Academy:
“Make us to choose the harder right instead of the easier wrong, and never to be content with a half truth when the whole truth can be won. Endow us with the courage that is born of loyalty to all that is noble and worthy, that scorns to compromise with vice and injustice and knows no fear when truth and right are in jeopardy.”
That is truly the essence of courage.