Bravery or Courage?

What the difference is

Bravery is a red zone activity, it is a fight/flight response where fight is instinctively determined to be the better course of action. Bravery occurs in extreme situations. In times of war, an extreme situation if ever there was one, then bravery is a desired behaviour from otherwise obedient and habitual people. So, it is officially praised.


Courage is a blue zone activity, in fact, courage is the capacity to stay out of the red zone. As courage grows there are three marked effects. In no particular order, negative self-talk diminishes (and eventually goes) and, as self-talk seems not go into memory, once gone there is no trace of the actual talk ever taking place.

The moments (or longer!) of hesitation before doing what we know that we ought to do also diminish and then disappear so that, eventually, “unreflectively, we do what is virtuous” (the original Greek definition of courage). In practical terms, less procrastination and less avoidance of doing what we know to be right.

Third, a greater connection with our full selves, our thoughts and feelings become more aligned, our decision making more intuitive and more ethical and we ourselves become less competitive and more collaborative and compassionate.

As the red zone fades, the ego fades with it and we can connect more deeply with others and with our surroundings.

We find the courage to do this through the practice of encounter with others. We build courage in them and they build courage in us.

Lacking courage does not mean that we cannot operate in the blue zone, it just means that when something goes wrong we have less capacity to avoid the red zone taking over.

John Corrigan is an expert in helping individuals to bring their whole of mind to their daily life and increase their effectiveness and the effectiveness of those around them. This expertise scales from the individual to the team to the organisation. At the core of this work is the practice of encounter.

John Corrigan