Topic #163: Is courage made, grown or found?


Courage is found, in my opinion. In order to understand my rationale, you have to comprehend how courage is conceived.  Courage is essentially overcoming fear and performing an act that must be performed under extreme emotional or physical stress. The text book definition of courage is the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger and / or pain. These are by no means the limiting factors to determine courage.

Courage depends entirely on the accompanying two elements of bravery and fear. Bravery is a general term that suggests fortitude, daring and resolve in certain situations, whilst fear is a distressing emotion caused by impending danger. I am defining the terms because in my opinion most people confuse them. I learned the difference between the two during my time in the military. The definitions stuck with me after recommending a fellow soldier for distinction. This is the primary question when assessing someone for distinction. The first hurdle in the determining process is: Was this an act of Bravery or Courage?

The essential difference between bravery and courage is that one must include fear in the equation, meaning that courage is to overcome fear and proceed with the task at hand. Bravery is a wonderful quality, however it seems to be generated more on the spur of the moment or more instinctually. Since fear is a key factor in shaping courage, I think that courage can be found within oneself with life experience and confidence. Can courage be made? I do not think that courage can be made but shaped and taught. Military Institutions such as West Point and Annapolis try to do this.

Pretty much everyone will or has experienced a courageous moment in their lives. Like I stated above, fear is the defining difference between bravery and courage. Everyone has had to do something, no matter how trivial it may seem, that made them fearful and despite that, they did it anyway. The question remains, if it really came down to it, would you be able to overcome your deepest fear and prevail? It’s an important question that encompasses most of us. Courage is a grand thing, it knows no boundaries, no age barrier, no gender barrier, it is open and available to everyone. It is up the person to strive for it, either by training, soul-searching or sheer will. Each person’s relationship with courage is an individual one.


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