The Courage That I Lack

November 23, 2017

I've been telling myself that I am not afraid. And therefore any mismatch between the progress I'm making and the progress I want to be making is due to a datetime imbalance, and not some sort of inhibition.

I may have been partly right. But also very partly wrong. Perhaps I am not afraid of many of the things I choose not to go after. I am not afraid of meeting people, yet I always tend to stay inside my head. I am not afraid of talking to people, yet I always prefer to avoid small talk. I am not afraid of trying new things with an open mind, yet my experiences for the past year have been anchored on the usual. I say I'm not afraid, but if not fear, there seems to be something else holding me back.

Courage.

I seem to be lacking it. This is a great word, and one I don't seem to actively use in my mental vocabulary. When I speak, or think, or write, I may use the word "fear" extensively, I may use the word "ambition" or "inhibitions". But never do I recall conceptualizing courage. Even in popular American culture, we speak of conquering our fears frequently, but courage seems to be a sort of Eastern/Chinese concept.

Sure, I may not be fearful of meeting new people or experiencing new, inconvenient things, but I lack the courage to do so. Courage is officially defined as the ability to do things that frighten you, but to me, it's something else. Courage is a bold brew of energy. You can conquer all your fears but still lack courage. It's sort of like the second level to fear. Fear II.

I'm just beginning to explore the world of courage. So I have no results or anecdotes. I was reading Tribe of Mentors by Tim Ferris (a great collection of advice from experienced people) and the word kept popping out at me. And the second I read it, I felt an instant connection. It filled up a certain part of me that was empty. And I knew instantly that courage is what I had been lacking.

I'm struggling to write this post. How can someone who has just discovered they lack courage write anything about it? But there’s just something about what it means to me that makes it the perfect ingredient to the imperfect recipe I’ve been concocting. I’m trying to define in words the chemicals I feel when I utter the word courage, but I’m at a loss.

Courage is..

It’s..

Hmm..

It’s..

Let’s see. It’s sort of big. It’s full of grandeur. When I think of courage I think of a warrior. I think of Chinese folklore. Courage is bigger than fear. It’s bigger than ambition. It’s bigger than us. Courage is the human inhabiting a larger space than themselves.

Courage is a sort of audacity. Courage is to be small, but do big. Courage is not so far off from YOLO. They seem to share similar vibes.

I guess, now that I think about it, courage can best be defined as: stop being a little bitch and get out there.

How do you define courage?

Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage.

— Anais Nin