The Basic Virtue

by Lorraine Esposito on January 15, 2012

in You as a parent,You as a person

“Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing.” −C.S. Lewis

Courage is the ability to remain standing in the face of fear, uncertainty, risk, and intimidation. It is the one virtue that sustains you as you face the new things in life. It takes courage to explore new territories; even new territories of thought.  As we learn and experiences more, our courage is called into action in a variety of ways, one being the courage to face resistance.

Internal Resistance -  Thomas, please shut up!

Internal resistance sounds like doubting Thomas in your mind; the little voice that questions your ability and worthiness to try something new.  This little voice is only audible to you, however you translate it for the world to hear when you say, “I can’t” or give up at the first sign of challenge.  You show the world that you believe Thomas when you only try things that are already within—or slightly outside of—your current skill level. Thomas is only right if you say so, but Thomas lies.  The truth is: if you can think it and rally a burning desire for it, you can do it.

Thomas is the conflict between what you want to do and what you think you can or should do. Most of your ideas about your worth and abilities have been given to you by other people―like well-meaning parents.  Sometimes, parents try to shield kids from disappointment by encouraging low expectations or calling it “greedy” wanting more than the status quo.  Parents aren’t the only influencers whose voices sound like Thomas:  clergy; athletic coaches; teachers, even the media.  The media-Thomas whispers that “good enough” is only possible with the latest gadget or hottest fashion piece. Bottom line:  It takes courage to plough through Thomas to see the worthy and capable person that you really are.

External Resistance – Get a bigger box

Your “world” will resist change, too.  World in this context means all your environments of people, places, and things.  We’ve spent years creating a “world” that fits us and supports our current lifestyle.  When the “world” fits, you feel comfortable—as in comfort zone.  It’s the box you made that’s just roomy enough for you, as you are today—without extras.  The minute you add something or change something, some part of your environment will surely resist.  It’s like bumping into the side of your box.  There will be naysayers, discomfort going to new places, and some fumbling as you learn to do new things.  It takes courage to plough through the side of your box.

You’re in good company

Any explorer has faced challenges and had to call upon many virtues in pursuit of growth and discovery.  Without hopefulness and resourcefulness, Columbus would not have succeeded. Without imagination and perseverance, Edison would have failed. Even Colonel Sanders would never have made it without the virtue of openness and impartiality by allowing Dave Thomas (of Wendy’s fame) to help him just as KFC was on the verge of failure. All these famous people called upon any number of virtues in their pursuit of greatness, and one virtue was the mother of them all: Courage.  So pull up your britches, rally some courage, and plow through.

Related Articles:  Playing it Risky, Thinking Requires Practice, The Push /Pull, A Look at Will Power,

Related Tip of the Week:  Change,

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What do you think? Is there another virtue that rises above courage? Is it courage or passion that eventually leads to success?

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