To be ignorant and take action is choosing to live foolishly.
It is not a requirement for demonstrating courage that you be ignorant of the risks. I’d suggest to anyone wondering that you can display courage and do your best to be as informed and intellectually responsible as possible.
In fact, it is more courageous to have done as much fact-gathering as time allows and intimately know the potential cost of the risk you are taking. Rather than be ignorant and unaware of what you stand to lose or suffer.
Courage does not require a lack of fear. Courage and fear are bedfellows. Courage is the act of doing something, displaying something, or taking a stand in the face of fear. Real, outcomes understood, fear.
Some people naturally seem more courageous than others. Some are more athletic as well. And exactly like that, no matter what your natural level of courage, it is something that can be fostered. Courage, like any other emotional override, is a learned skill, and there are some practical ways you can continue to build courageous action.
Understand that displaying courage isn’t going to be fun. Ever. It is directly proportional to the amount of fear you’ll have in whatever circumstance calls for courage. The more dangerous or difficult the circumstance, the greater the fear and courage displayed will be. That is precisely why ignorance is not a bedfellow to courage.
Courage is only displayed when the loss, risk, or danger to be felt is understood fully.
Did you know that most professional athletes still deal with fear when going out into the arena? The primary difference is that they have trained themselves to view fear as excitement! Fear has to be looked at as an opportunity. Yes, even responding to an opportunity can still require courage. There are no guarantees of success as an outcome of opportunity. We only call it an opportunity because we expect a positive outcome from the risk.
So why do we view one as courageous and the other we don’t even consider?
Courage is about the predicted fear of loss by some type of action or inaction.
For example, in the right circumstances, standing on behalf of someone else or for something else because it is morally or ethically right may still demonstrate courage.
With that image in mind, understand that debilitating fear rarely exists outside the expectation of the worst possible outcomes. It is typically only in hindsight the problem with all variables is fully understood. That said, fear is driven by the unknown results of choosing a course of action or inaction but expecting only the worst outcomes for any possibility. It is only a reflection of a thing that could happen. One possible outcome amongst many. Nothing more. It would take the alignment of the worst things possible conspiring against you for your fears to be realized.
To mutilate that thinking pattern a good first step is to spend time reflecting on the truth of other positive possible outcomes. Those are far more energizing for courage. Realizing and accepting the possibility of a positive result is the elixir for the emotion of fear. A positive outcome is just as likely as a negative.
And it’s more probable that you will look back with greater strength of mind once you have made it through the crisis from some point in the future than you would ever have believed possible at the time.
The use of reasoning is one of the ways you will begin dismantling fear and building courage. Fear is an emotion based on the possibility of the worst things. By training yourself to be as objective about circumstances as possible, your level of needed courage will diminish. That means examining the circumstances, the options, and your resources first. Exhaust everything with everything you have, and then whatever is left to be overcome will be the level of courage you need to display.
Another practical way is by taking small steps and actions. Courage does not always require taking major risks or courses of action. Of course, that’s not always feasible, but when it is, be as methodical at working through the s*** storms of life as you can be.
Understand, there’s no point at which a marker exists to say something is courageous while something else is not. A soldier crawling across an open field, attempting to avoid detection and moving as slowly, calculated, and slightly as possible, still demonstrates courage.
Go be courageous!