Some are born with it. Some develop it. We all want it: Courage. And not just the courage to back country ski or walk across fire. I’m talking about the deep-seated courage that drives you to push onward. Life is an uphill battle, and for some us to make it with one foot in front of the other feels like more than we can manage. Others have no fear when trudging forward towards their goals. What makes the difference? It’s a little attitude, add drive, and most critical, courage to try.
Yesterday was a bad day for me. Did I say bad? It was horrible! I haven’t had a day that hard in a while. It started off as any normal day with big plans to get everything on my to-do list done before work. About two hours in, all my plans were dashed to pieces as a broken sink went from a 20-minute fix to 6 hours of laying on my back hitting metal pipes with a hammer. Finally, I did what all girls do in trouble—I called my dad.
To say I was frustrated is putting it nicely. I felt little—and not in the good way. I felt that everyone thought I was foolish for trying to fix this sink on my own, and my 6 hours of work solidified that opinion. I was frustrated, mad, physically hurting, and red because I was fighting back tears. I explained this all to my dad when he showed up with a saw to help me out.
“Life is war,” he said. Thanks Dad. Really, life is war? That is supposed to make me feel better? I want life to be roses, a walk in the park, like baking a cake, or even possibly just as hard as running a race but that’s my max.
Once I got myself calmed down over the sink (thanks to a father’s help), I thought more about this life being war thing. If life really is a constant battle for various reasons, then why try? Why not just live a very simple, never reaching for more, life and avoid the fight? That would be the best option, right? Well in my short time on this battle field I’ve realized that it’s too late to back out of the fight now, so why not wage war for the best life possible? Here me out.
When it comes to the courage to live our fullest lives, or try some new idea, start your own business, change careers, or sign up for a new class, we sometimes falter. We think that if we try something that puts us “out there” (or allows people to judge us) it isn’t worth the added strain. We could just coast at the level of living we currently are at, perfectly safe within our comfort bubble.
When we stop trying we aren’t stretching our courage muscles. Life will add the strain regardless if we are pursuing our highest ambitions or not. Life is the amazing equalizer that way. When we coast through life we are actually more susceptible to life’s crashing waves. We have no rudder to steer us, or guide us away from looming storms. On the other hand, it might be more work, require more courage, and faith upfront, but planning for, setting goals, stretching yourself, putting in the extra hours, actually fortifies you against the uncertainties of life.
So dream big! Don’t allow yourself to be held back because life is hard. It is, but it’s hard regardless if we are living our ultimate life or if we are just allowing life to happen to us. Some of you are reading this and thinking to yourself, “yeah, but if I go for these big goals of mine and don’t make them, that means that losing or not achieving it will be that much worse. I’d rather not try than experience failure.”
As someone who has held myself back for the fear of looking like a loser, or needy, or failing, believe me I know how hard it can be to overcome this fear. It seems so rational and it is very common for us to feel this way. That is why it is so critical to exercise your courage to try a little at a time. Over time, these experiences will give you the personal realization that the fear of failure is so much worse than the actual let down. In this war of life, sometimes we ourselves can become the enemy.
In conclusion let me quote a favorite movie line, “have courage and be kind.” Try new things. Don’t give up on actively pursuing a life that is far above ordinary. Life is hard. I have to agree with my father, it is war. But we can fight for a mediocre life living inside our comfort bubble and being subject to its changes, or we can fight to take life by the horns and make it our own. Either way, the fight and effort are still required. So wage on.