In last month’s newsletter I began talking about the essential components of success and happiness, as described by an ancient text I’d been reviewing. The four pillars were: Self Mastery, Courage, Knowledge/Wisdom, and Justice.
Last month, I touched on Self Mastery and how it is the first step on your journey toward achieving your goals. You can call this self discipline, but to me self mastery is of higher order, not to mention it has a more positive connotation. To read last month’s article, click here.
In this issue I’d like to discuss the second component; Courage.
So, what is courage?
The root of the word courage is from the French “coer”, which means heart. So, it’s immediately evident that any act of courage is ultimately an act of the heart. Certainly one must evaluate and analyze a situation before making a leap of faith, but the mind can not make the leap – only the heart can.
Real courage is as rare as successful people because real courage means doing what must be done to progress towards realizing your dreams. It takes courage to pick up the phone and make a cold call. It takes courage to knock on someone’s door and ask for business. It takes courage to go against the grain in pursuing your ideals. Are you walking that path? If you are, then in my book, you are already successful.
So courage requires stepping out of your comfort zone, but it also involves breaking free of your limited thought patterns, and the expectation of society. Nothing great will ever come your way until you break free of your limited thinking and the limited thinking of those around you. Everyone seems to have rules about what can be done and what can’t be done, or what is appropriate and what is not appropriate. I don’t believe we can live our lives based on certain instructions or rules. Life is dynamic and malleable; it responds to our every thought, word and action. Trying to live your life according to one set of static rules or guidelines puts you in opposition to this reality. And one can never be happy living in opposition to reality.
A courageous person refuses to be put in a mold. He or she knows that a foolish consistency is the “hobgoblin of little minds” (to paraphrase Ralph Waldo Emerson). To reach any level of sustainable success and enduring happiness, one must demonstrate the ability to fearlessly break free of patterned behavior. To do this you must act from your heart with full commitment. And for this you must develop your readiness to act with courage.