Courage is Being Scared to Death But Saddling Up Anyway

“I Learned That Courage Was Not The Absence of Fear, But The Triumph Over It. The Brave Man Is Not He Who Does Not Feel Afraid, But He Who Conquers That Fear”

Great men and women throughout history have understood courage:

I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”
– Nelson Mandela

Courage is being scared to death but saddling up anyway.
– John Wayne

Courage is doing what your afraid to do. There can be no courage unless you’re scared.
– Eddie Rickenbacker

Courage is fear holding on a minute longer.
– George Patton

Courage Is Contagious

Courage is also contagious. And studies show that even a single dissenter speaking their mind empowers others to think for themselves.

Here’s an example … of a navy sailor standing tall in the middle of last year’s Oakland tear gas attack holding the constitution and a veterans for peace flag … moments after Scott Olsen was hit in the head.

Here he is a couple of minutes before, standing with marine veteran Scott Olsen before Olsen was hit in the head and nearly killed by a projectile:

Whether you agree with Occupy or not, you have to admire his courage.

Here’s a more stunning example. This is the iconic picture of the brave protester facing down tanks in Tiananmen Square:

But this newly-surfaced image with a much wider view shows that he didn’t face 4 tanks … but scores of tanks:

And watch this incredible video of the man getting in front of the tank as it tries to maneuver around him, and then climbing on top of the tank:

His courage inspired people worldwide.

Courage is contagious.

Can you understand now why tyrants are so desperate to keep images of courage away from the general public … and instead to promote fear and cowardice?

Graphic by Anthony Freda:

The Secret to Courage … Love

There is a real misunderstanding of what it means to be courageous. In America, courage is often thought of as a testosterone-driven toughness. There’s nothing the matter with testosterone. Masculinity is a great thing. But many American men secretly fear that they don’t have sufficient testosterone to really be brave when the chips are down. Even those of us who think of ourselves as brave men usually only act like that when we know it is within the bounds of safety, within the limits of what we can handle.

We might jump into a bar room brawl to protect our buddy, but that’s because we know we’re only going to get knocked around a little bit — nothing but bruises that will go away in a little while. The stakes just aren’t that high.

But most American men secretly doubt whether they are macho enough to pull it off under fire. They may watch alot of action movies, and talk tough, and stand up when its not really dangerous (or when they clearly outgun the other guy), but they are secretly terrified that they don’t have quite enough backbone to pull it off against the big boys, such as tyrants.

I would argue that this view fundamentally misunderstands the nature of courage, and ensures that we will never have true courage when it counts.

By way of analogy, the word “discipline” comes from “disciple”. If you are a true “disciple” of an idea of a plan or a strategy or a religion, then you will stick to it and “have discipline” to reach your goal. It is not just a matter of willpower; it is also devotion to something bigger than ourselves.

Similarly, the word “courage” comes from the French “with heart”. Why does it have this root meaning? Because it takes heart to act bravely. That’s how my childhood Karate teacher used the word: when I was practicing with courage, power and focus, he would say “you have alot of heart today” (indeed, many old-school warriors use the phrase “fighting with heart” in that way).

If courage is acting “with heart”, we’ve lost heart. And without heart, we cannot face the truth.

So how do we regain our heart? Well, let’s start with what gets our hearts beating.

Remember that the mother bear is one of the fiercest animals of all. Just get between a mother bear and her cub and you’ll see what I mean. It is her love of her cub which gives her the heart to face any enemy when her cub is threatened. It is not her level of testosterone, but rather her love for her cub which makes her so fierce.

Just as discipline is more than just willpower, courage stems from something bigger than just cajones. In fact, the strongest courage comes from the love of something we care about, since our heart will sustain us even when the chips are really down and we are really up against a tyrant. As the ancient Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu said: “Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage. “

In addition, we’re no longer living in the old west. Individualism is very important in numerous ways, but we can only win against the tyrants as a team, as a community, as a nation. And only by opening our hearts to what matters will we be able to work together, to fight for all of our kids, and all of our freedom. Only then will we be able to put the crooks and the looters and the tyrants back in the box.

Do we care about our kids, our significant others, our parents, our friends? Do we care about the freedom to choose what we want, instead of having our “great leader” choose for us?

If not, what DO we care about? Because if that is where your heart is, that is what will give you courage.

I care too much about my kids and their future to be afraid. I care enough about them that it gets my heart beating, connects me to something bigger than myself, and that gives me courage, even when the chips are down.

Courage is an innate human quality. It is within each of us, waiting to reveal itself when we open our hearts. When we act with heart, by definition, we are courageous.

Humor Gives Perspective … So Laugh a Little

Humor is important, because it helps us laugh at – instead of giving into – our fears.

Wise people in cultures around the world have understood the power of humor to melt fear and to let people gain perspective on what is or isn’t really a threat.

See this for a great example of humor about the threat of terror

Fear Is Not a Christian Value

The vast majority of Americans who are Christians should remember that fear is not a Christian value.

Jesus repeatedly told his disciples and other people not to be afraid. For example, in the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus:

  • Speaks these words to the disciples during a storm (14:27)
  • To Peter, James and John during the Transfiguration (17:7)
  • To the women outside the empty tomb (28:10)
  • To the disciples he is about to send out to teach, preach and heal, he says, “Have no fear” of those who have called the master of the house Beelzebul and will surely also malign those of his household (10:25)
  • “Do not be afraid,” Jesus says, reminding those he is sending out of the One whose eye is on the sparrow. “You are of more value than many sparrows” (10:31)

(In other sections of the Bible, Jesus said do not be afraid another 10 times.)

Jesus told his flock not to be afraid. Christians that succumb to fear are not following Christ’s teachings. Those of us who succumb to fear are following those who would manipulate – instead of free – us.

This entry was posted in Politics / World News. Bookmark the permalink.
  • Elizabeth Hanson

    This is such a beautiful essay. I used it to inspire other (as it inspired me). I teach at a school where today some students stood up for what they believed in. I sent it to them because it’s hard to stand up and speak out when there’s a power differential.

    Me, I speak out a lot. I got over the fear thing… AND your essay is a wonderful support and reminder. God Bless You.

  • All Divine religions teach courage, honesty and standing-up to tyranny. However, as Canadaian Jewish academic, Henry Makow PhD wrote that both Judaism and Christianity have been corrupted and tamed by the Zionist elites – Islam is the only religion whose believers are resisting the One World Government under Jewish domination.

    Malcolm X was one of those few Americans who embodied all those three qualities.

  • gozounlimited

    I have a foot up on fear ….. having died at seven and then resurrected. The fierceness one can acquire in knowing the protection of God is always with you is so liberating. Nothing to fear….we can make our own reality with morality, intelligence, and love. No better way to live in the heavens and on earth.

    Thank You for sharing your FULLY LIVED LIFE ….you, the authors, the readers …….you are beautiful …. love you……

    • gozounlimited

      The Remedy Lies in Trust – Max Igan

      (SurvivingTheMatrix) – Published on YOUTUBE Jun 8, 2012 by aodscarecrowJune

      see video: b
      ….. Canadian Protestors Strip Nude As They Clash With Riot Police ….

      (HigginsBlog) – Canadian protestors strip off their clothes as they clash with riot police on the streets of Montreal in an attempt to prevent police brutality and bring attention to their cause. View this entry »
      NDAA unconstitutional: Federal judge bans Obama from indefinitely detaining Americans

      (RussiaToday) – Sorry, Mr. President. A US Federal judge has clarified a decision made last month with some news sure to upset the Obama administration: the White House cannot use the NDAA to indefinitely detain American citizens. View this entry »

  • Some of the forms of “courage” only arise when one belongs to a group or meme complex.

    The group or meme complex produces what is called courage, but according to a new scientific paper which psychoanalyzes group cognition and behavior, not just an individual within a group, meme complexes or groups can go stone crazy because of a false sense of courage.

    What Elizabeth Hanson said too.

    • The sense of belonging to a groups fighting for the liberation for the liberation of their homeland from the foreign invaders – is another example for “courage” – being called the “freedom-fighters”.

      On April 24, 2010, Aljazeera posted a documentary (watch video below), narrating the stories of seven women, both Muslims and Christians, who fought against the Israeli occupation with the exception of Jocelyn Khoueiri, who collaborated with Jewish army as a Christian Phalangists.

    • gozounlimited

      The problem here is that disparate topics have been thrown into one bag….. climate change and air pollution. First of all, the earth is moving into a cooling phase from the current warming phase. CO2 supports water vapor …. important when moving into a colder climate. Dirty air causing, premature death of body and environment, really has little to do naturally with climate change, other than blocking atmospheric currants.

      With geoengineering, one can control the atmosphere with particulates blocking or bending currents. With geoengineering one can create or enhance earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, with magnetic pulse, or cause global warming with suffocating chemtrails poisoning the air and ground.

      Stakeholders in climate terrorism/fraud have vested heavily in confusing and misinforming the people, creating fear and alarm with bogus studies, denying peer review. The sheeple are blind….not seeing that many so-called natural climate/geological events occurring around the world, have been staged for the purpose of research and control.

      Ignorance seems to be our biggest problem…too many highly educated people attempting to bring light to the gullible sheeple …. whom either can’t or just don’t critically think or educate themselves. And there’s the rub….but no reason to get discouraged ……

      • Bev

        Climate change is climate instability while the larger trend line is ever warmer. It is climate scientists who try to educate about the danger of climate warming, instability and tipping points were we cannot recover the stability needed to ensure agricultures’ and humans’ success. Science is ever increasing in accuracy as it self corrects with better information. As change occurs, scientist will adjust and let us know.

        You are on the same side as people (paid to lie by oil corporations who want to drill at the poles) who are against science, science education, and climate change science. That is not courageous at all.

  • SteveL

    Love the site; just one small quibble here: please change “alot” to “a lot” (and delete my comment).

  • Yes, he is courageous, and I appreciate his stand, but he is violating his contract by standing there in his navy uniform. We were taught that we had freedom of speech and first amendment rights, but we were never to demonstrate in our uniforms. He is risking his entire career by doing this, which only reinforces his courageous stand.