Courage is the ladder on which all the other virtues mount. – Clare Boothe Luce
What does that mean?
While the verbage is a bit archaic, I believe it is as true today as it was when it was first spoken. Reworded, Courage is the ladder all the other virtues need in order to ascend. Basically, courage is a foundational virtue, one without which the others are very limited.
How honest are you willing to be if you have no courage? Would you be able to walk up to someone and tell them that you liked them? If, instead, they smelled funny, would you able to tell them they need to bathe more often?
Do you see how a lack of courage limits the ability of the virtue ‘honesty’ to ascend to any great height? Without courage, honesty can’t get anywhere. What this also means is that you will be trapped, a shadow of your potential, a mere fraction of your best possible self, without courage.
Why is courage important?
As was mentioned before, courage is what the other virtues rely on as a foundation, and as a ladder to climb. As you get to be a better person, you need to have courage, so all of your virtues have a ladder to climb and keep up with you.
Courage is useful in other aspects of your life as well. But most importantly, it is the core of your virtues. Without courage, you will not be able to stand up for your virtues. Without courage, the opposites of virtue will rule you, the vices.
Where can I apply this in my life?
Think of a virtue, and consider it’s opposite, the vice. How much courage does the vice take? The opposite of telling the truth is to lie. It often takes courage to tell the truth, as it might be unpopular or even be detrimental to you. A lie, on the other hand, takes almost no courage.
You can run the same exercise for any number of virtues (including self control, cleanliness, charity, industriousness, patience, kindness, and humility). Take a moment and think of each of these virtues with courage, and without courage. Do the same for any other flavor of virtue you can think of, and see if you agree that a virtue, absent courage, easily turns to vice.
I don’t know about you, but I am a bit uneven in my courage. I’m still not that confident around unfamiliar people. On the other hand, I’m perfectly at home in most wilderness areas. For me, it’s mostly a difference of familiarity, and therefore, confidence, leading to courage.
Think about the situations where you feel courageous, where others might not be bold, but you would be. Make a list of some of the places where you’re really comfortable being bold, being courageous, taking the lead, being the example, showing the others how it is done. I bet that felt good, even if you only have one or two things on your list.
Now it’s time to do the other side of the coin. What are some of the situations where you not so courageous? What makes you uncomfortable, timid, or reserved? Make a list of just a few of these situations. Don’t make a huge list, we’re not trying to get depressed.
Look at your list of courage and the list of lack. When I looked at mine, it confirmed that familiarity and confidence were the basis of my courage. Is yours based on the same thing, or is yours different? What you are looking for is something that exists in most of the places where you are brave, and is missing in most of the places where you are not.
Once you have identified something (or a couple somethings, select one to start working on, you can always come back and work on the others later), it’s time to get started on how to structure your life to accentuate the positive and reduce, if not eliminate, the negative.
For me, familiarity and confidence both speak to knowledge, and some practice. I know if I notice a need for more courage in a situation, I need to get more knowledge or some practice. Dancing is a prime example, where I lack courage, as well as a significant lack of knowledge and practice.
While dancing isn’t exactly a virtue, I used it to show how courage can be found in other parts of your life, and that the same methods that help you with courage in virtues can help you in many other aspects of your life.
Courage is a ladder. Is it time to start climbing? I believe it is. Take the first step today.
From: Twitter, @kamaka_women
confirmed at : http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/c/clarebooth115513.html
Photo by jessicafm