Wise men and leaders through the ages have addressed the subject.
"It is a hard rule of life...that no great plan is ever carried out without meeting and overcoming endless obstacles that come up to try the skill of man's hand, the quality of his courage and the endurance of his faith," says Donald Douglas.
The trip that ends in success is definitely not for the faint of heart.
What Is Courage?
Webster's Dictionary defines courage as the "mental or moral strength to venture, persevere and withstand danger, fear or difficulty". It shows up in many different forms, not just with soldiers in battle. We know it and admire it when we see it.
Winston Churchill, who personified the trait, said, "Courage is the first of human qualities because it is the quality which guarantees all the others,"
Courage has been described as "the greatest quality of the mind next to honor".
Even the Wonderful Wizard of Oz had something to say about courage: "True courage is facing danger when you are afraid".
What Does Courage Require?
1. It takes courage to roll out of bed in the morning and face the day. It's much easier to roll over and turn of the alarm clock.
2. It takes courage to work hard, to come in early and stay late, to give 110 percent, while others seem to get by with working at half speed.
3. It takes courage to take risks. Sissies don't become leaders who blaze new trails. Risks involve the unknown. Those who take risks have to be able to overcome the inevitable mistakes that occur.
"Whatever you do, you need courage. Whatever course you decide upon, there is always someone to tell you (that) you are wrong. There are always difficulties arising, which tempt you to believe that your critics are right. To map out a course of action and follow it to the end requires some of the same courage, which a soldier needs. Peace has its victories, but it takes brave men to win them," according to Ralph Waldo Emerson.
The motto of the British Special Air Service regiment says it all, "Who dares, wins".
4. It takes courage to admit mistakes and correct them so that they become learning experiences.
5. "It takes courage to be in the minority, going against the accepted wisdom. One man with courage makes a majority." That's the advice from Andrew Jackson, who was known as Old Hickory because of his bravery.
6. It takes courage to blow the whistle when one sees ethics being violated and people being mistreated.
7. It takes courage to venture outside the comfort zone and welcome new associates and new ideas. Weaklings don't challenge the status quo.
8. It takes courage to tell the boss he is wrong.
9. It takes courage to persevere when all seems to be lost.
A wise man has said "Courage to start and willingness to keep everlastingly at it are the requisites for success".
"Because a fellow has failed once or twice, or a dozen times, you don't want to set him down as a failure till he's dead or loses his courage--and that's the same thing," wrote George Horace Lorimer.
Those with courage never give up. "Success is never final and failure is never fatal. It's courage that counts," according to George F. Tilton.
10. It takes courage to survive and prosper in an environment of change and uncertainty.
11. It takes courage to decline to join the gossip gang for a beer after work, especially when the subject is usually bad-mouthing the boss and the organization.
12. It takes courage to ask for help. Instead of being a weakness, admitting that one needs help requires maturity, grit and self-confidence.
Jerome P. Fleishman summarized the message of courage when he wrote:
"It takes courage to live--and courage and strength and hope and humor. And courage and strength and hope and humor have to be bought and paid for with pain and work and prayers and tears."