Like all children, I grew up on a healthy dose of stories about courage. My personal favourite was the Tintin comic series. The young reporter’s greatest quality was his courage. It led him into all sorts of trouble but also helped him triumph against all odds. But the one story that stands out as a symbolic tale of courage is that of The Cowardly Lion, a character from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. The Cowardly Lion believes that he lacks courage compared to other lions, when the truth is that he always acts courageously in the face of threatening situations. He finally discovers that courage was in him all along, and that he was simply unaware of the fact. It is his self-image that makes him believe that he lacked courage.
I don’t have to tell you that without courage, none of us can be happy. When fear directs our choices and decisions, our potential remains untapped and we live an unfulfilled life. And yet most people live like that, behaving as if they lack courage. Like L. Frank Baum’s lion, which was undoubtedly inspired by the human condition, they don’t realise that courage is something that we are all born with.
Perhaps the over-glamourised version of courage that we witness in the media makes them believe that it’s all about being loud and audacious. But, as author Mary Anne Radmacher says, “Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says I’ll try again tomorrow”.
This month, Margie Warrell, the best-selling author of Stop Playing Safe and Find Your Courage, tells us how we can go from mere platitudes about courage, to actually living fearlessly. “At the core of courage is choosing to live wholeheartedly—to bare your heart wide open to the full spectrum of experiences and emotions; to stop letting fear run your life, and to start owning your power to create, achieve, become and contribute all that inspires you,” she says. She teaches us how to create a mindset that embraces uncertainty. She encourages us to step out of our comfort zones as that is the only sure shot antidote to fear.
So take action this month and claim what was always yours. Read the cover story, and then go, do something you always felt like doing, but never thought you could. Later, don’t be surprised if you find a familiar face smiling back in admiration—from the mirror!