Be Courageous!

The value of courage

For a long time, I could not understand the early Greek definitions of courage as ‘the unreflective striving towards what is good’. There seemed to be no ‘courage’ if you did something without reflection, without any thought.

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Gradually, though, I realised that this ‘unreflective’ meant ‘without hesitation’, without an internal voice saying ‘but what will people think?’ or something equivalent. The hesitation is brought by the red zone beginning to trigger, feeling that there is some kind of threat.

When the red zone fades away it is possible to do things that our organism thinks it ought to do without hesitation. Think about this for a moment. Procrastination disappears. Something needs to be done, so you do it. That doesn’t sound like courage but that was the original Greek sense of the term.

Of course, if something difficult and scary needs to be done the same thing happens. You can do it without hesitation because it is the right thing to do. That is more obviously courageous.

Often, we do the wrong thing (or fail to do the right thing) not because we are bad people but because the moment’s hesitation causes us to pause and put off what we intuitively know we should do or we create such a strong internal argument against doing it that we convince ourselves that we don’t need to do it. The net effect is we don’t show courage.

So, we can help the red zone fade away by being courageous, by doing something we know we should do, without hesitation. It can be little things, it can be big things, it all helps.

John Corrigan