Bravery is said to be that thing where we take action despite fear of the outcome. Often it is connected with combat, something that martial artists are all too familiar with, as well as those who serve in uniform protecting our country.
Yet bravery also exists outside the realm of combat. For example, there are philosophical differences that may arise between you and an acquaintance or a loved one. There could be a difficult project that needs to be dealt with, or a work-related obstacle that needs to be overcome. There’s also the issue of fears and phobias that are keeping us from achieving the best versions of ourselves.
Being afraid is not unusual, whether we choose to admit it or not. It’s a natural tendency hardwired into our brain and works as a protective mechanism to keep us alive. And human beings, like all living organisms, naturally move toward pleasure and away from pain. Combat, for example, can be painful. Dealing with a tense relationship issue can be painful. Standing up to someone who wishes to intimidate or dominate can be painful. Hence, we often avoid dealing with it, thus avoiding the pain in order to hold onto pleasure, however temporary it may be. This only continues the status quo and in most cases worsens it. It also keeps us from growing and achieving that next level in whatever goal or project set before us. This is where bravery becomes necessary. Essentially, bravery is that intestinal fortitude that allows us to overcome the fear of failure, and the resultant pain that comes from that failure, whether it is physical or emotional.
Children deal with this issue often when faced with the schoolyard bully. The situation only gets worse the more they attempt to avoid addressing the problem. Eventually, they either have to neutralize the bully through gaining the support and action of adults in authority over the bully, or take matters into their hands to demonstrate to the bully that they cannot be dominated in such a fashion. Either option requires bravery on the part of the child. Adults deal with this, too, but on a more sophisticated, if somewhat more complex and nuanced level. And again, it comes back to being brave enough to overcome fear of the possible negative consequences.
However, once we do overcome the fear, whether it is about dealing with a tough relationship issue, or moving forward with a tremendously difficult challenge, it is that bravery that keeps us going through the process of resolving the issue and achieving success. Without employing bravery as a powerful word in our daily lives, we place ourselves in varying states of stagnation, submission, weakness, and in some rare instances cowardice. None of these are positive and none allow for growth, evolution, empowerment, and success in one’s daily life.
What is suggested is that whether one shows bravery for philosophical reasons or for the protection of one’s physical or emotional well-being, it is important to do so for those obvious reasons, but also for one’s personal growth and evolution. Bravery goes hand in hand with motivation. One is the intent to do something and the other is used to overcome the fear that in doing something one might fail. Put bravery into your daily vocabulary and couple it with your motivation to achieve great things, and you will have a nearly unstoppable power in your hands.