We usually associate courage with very dramatic and often unusual events like facing down a mugger, or plunging into foaming seas to help a troubled swimmer.
But I had instances of real courage in a different context related to me recently. But no one will ever hear about them. They'll never be broadcast, or blazed in the papers,. And yet, oddly enough, many people are familiar with them.
The first was in a business setting. A man, on his way to mid life, had committed himself diligently to a new job and all that that entailed. His performance was wholehearted and the results had been remarkable.
However, in his first annual performance review he was told how he could have been more effective in one or two minor areas, with no acknowledgement of his achievements.
After the initial disappointment, he consulted with himself, and decided that he was more than he was appreciated, and got on with his life and his task.
The other instance was of a man who considered one aspect of his job as a waste of time, even irrelevant, to his calling, and far from fulfilling.
On reflection however, he saw that that particular part of his work did indeed have relevance to the whole of his performance, in that it allowed him do what he liked to do with fluency, ease and competence. So he applied himself to it with a will, and did it efficiently.
Here’s the point. Both men saw that there was something they needed to do, though they disliked it. Instead of whingeing and whining about it, they decided that there were aspects, people, places, procedures that to them were unlikable, and to accept that fact and to get on with the job. Day in, day out.
We all need to see at times that courage is a quality. If we look for it within ourselves, we will find it when we need it. Then we raise it, bring it into play, and make the most of it.
Yes, courage is necessary to force the pace that wins the race, make the tackle that saves the game, hold our nerve to win the deal, all commendable and desirable outcomes.
But courage is also necessary to apply to the small daily unsung tasks that help keep a harmonious life, when the direction wavers and the destination begins to dim.
When the goal fades, and motivation falters, we need what courage we have, to keep us doing the simple things that get things done.
Day in, day out.
I once said to a boss of mine when we faced a daunting problem, “let’s pray for a miracle.“ “No Dave”he replied, “let’s pray for the will, determination and courage to do what we need to do. That’s what will bring about what may appear to be miraculous.“
He was right.
We did, and it did.
Courage, like a muscle, becomes stronger with use. Keep training, the muscle, and the courage.