Courage

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If you want to be happy for a year, plant a garden; If you want to be happy for life, plant a tree.
English Proverb
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Courage, also known as fortitude, is the ability to confront fear, pain, danger, uncertainty or intimidation. It can be divided into "physical courage" — in face of physical pain, hardship, and threat of death — and "moral courage" — in the face of shame, scandal, and discouragement.


  • "Keep your fears to yourself, but share your courage with others." Robert Louis Stevenson


  • "If I spent as much time doing the things I worry about getting done as I do worrying about doing them, I wouldn't have anything to worry about." ... Beryl Pfizer


  • "The test of courage comes when we are in the minority. The test of tolerance comes when we are in the majority."...

Ralph W.Sockman


  • "Being happy doesn't mean that everything is perfect. It means that you've decided to look beyond the imperfections."


  • "You have to go through the falling down in order to learn to walk. It helps to know that you can survive it. That's an education in itself."


  • Courage is facing our deepest fears, Heroism is facing them again and again.
    • Tim McInerey
  • Life rewards the risk-takers.
    • Clint Borgen, Geneva Nights
  • If you're gonna be dumb, then you gotta be tough; when you get knocked down, you gotta get back up.
    • Roger Alan Wade
  • Complete courage and absolute cowardice are extremes that very few men fall into. The vast middle space contains all the intermediate kinds and degrees of courage; and these differ as much from one another as men’s faces or their humors do.
  • Perfect courage is to do without witnesses what one would be capable of doing with the world looking on.
  • Courage, of all national qualities, is the most precarious; because it is exerted only at intervals, and by a few in every nation; whereas industry, knowledge, civility, may be of constant and universal use, and for several ages, may become habitual to the whole people.
    • David Hume, Of National Characters, part I, essay XXI (1758)
  • If you want success you better get comfortable with rejection. The most successful people in life are also the world's most biggest failures.
    • Clint Borgen, Geneva Nights
  • Courage is a quality so necessary for maintaining virtue, that it is always respected, even when it is associated with vice.
    • Samuel Johnson, Quoted in James Boswell, Life of Samuel Johnson, June 11, 1784 (1791)
  • It requires courage not to surrender oneself to the ingenious or compassionate counsels of despair that would induce a man to eliminate himself from the ranks of the living; but it does not follow from this that every huckster who is fattened and nourished in self-confidence has more courage than the man who yielded to despair.
    • Soren Kierkegaard, “Irony as a Mastered Moment: The Truth of Irony,” pt. 2, The Concept of Irony (1841)
  • The French courage proceeds from vanity—the German from phlegm—the Turkish from fanaticism & opium—the Spanish from pride—the English from coolness—the Dutch from obstinacy—the Russian from insensibility—but the Italian from anger.
  • A great part of courage is the courage of having done the thing before.
  • ‘Tis said that courage is common, but the immense esteem in which it is held proves it to be rare. Animal resistance, the instinct of the male animal when cornered, is no doubt common; but the pure article, courage with eyes, courage with conduct, self-possession at the cannon’s mouth, cheerfulness in lonely adherence to the right, is the endowment of elevated characters.
  • It is plain that there is no separate essence called courage, no cup or cell in the brain, no vessel in the heart containing drops or atoms that make or give this virtue; but it is the right or healthy state of every man, when he is free to do that which is constitutional to him to do.
  • Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear—not absence of fear. Except a creature be part coward it is not a compliment to say it is brave; it is merely a loose application of the word. Consider the flea!—incomparably the bravest of all the creatures of God, if ignorance of fear were courage.
  • Courage charms us, because it indicates that a man loves an idea better than all things in the world, that he is thinking neither of his bed, nor his dinner, nor his money, but will venture all to put in act the invisible thought of his mind.
  • Courage is almost a contradiction in terms. It means a strong desire to live taking the form of a readiness to die.
  • Either life entails courage, or it ceases to be life.
    • E.M. Forster, Pharos and Pharillon, “The Poetry of C.P. Cavafy” (1923)
  • Cowardly Lion: Courage! What makes a king out of a slave? Courage! What makes the flag on the mast to wave? Courage! What makes the elephant charge his tusk in the misty mist, or the dusky dusk? What makes the muskrat guard his musk? Courage! What makes the sphinx the seventh wonder? Courage! What makes the dawn come up like thunder? Courage! What makes the Hottentot so hot? What puts the "ape" in apricot? What have they got that I ain't got?
    Dorothy, Scarecrow, Tin Woodsman: Courage!
    Cowardly Lion: You can say that again! Hunh!
  • The one who wins is the one with courage!
  • Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point.
    • C.S. Lewis, quoted in The Unquiet Grave, pt. 3, Cyril Connolly (1944)
  • Courage is of the heart by derivation,
    And great it is. But fear is of the soul.
  • This is the art of courage: to see things as they are and still believe that the victory lies not with those who avoid the bad, but those who taste, in living awareness, every drop of the good.
  • Without belittling the courage with which men have died, we should not forget those acts of courage with which men … have lived. The courage of life is often a less dramatic spectacle than the courage of a final moment; but it is no less a magnificent mixture of triumph and tragedy. A man does what he must—in spite of personal consequences, in spite of obstacles and dangers and pressures—and that is the basis of all human morality…. In whatever arena of life one may meet the challenge of courage, whatever may be the sacrifices he faces if he follows his conscience—the loss of his friends, his fortune, his contentment, even the esteem of his fellow men—each man must decide for himself the course he will follow. The stories of past courage can define that ingredient—they can teach, they can offer hope, they can provide inspiration. But they cannot supply courage itself. For this each man must look into his own soul.
  • I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It's when you know you're licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what.
  • Courage is in the air in bracing whiffs
    Better than all the stalemate an’s and ifs.
  • Courage is contagious. When a brave man takes a stand, the spines of others are often stiffened.
    • Billy Graham, “A Time for Moral Courage” Reader’s Digest (July 1964)
  • Courage is a moral quality; it is not a chance gift of nature like an aptitude for games. It is a cold choice between two alternatives, the fixed resolve not to quit; an act of renunciation which must be made not once but many times by the power of the will.
  • Courage is the ladder on which all the other virtues mount.
  • Courage is very important. Like a muscle, it is strengthened by use.
  • Go to the edge of the cliff and jump off. Build your wings on the way down.
  • Every great work, every big accomplishment, has been brought into manifestation through holding to the vision, and often just before the big achievement, comes apparent failure and discouragement.

Unsourced

  • It doesn't matter where you go in this world. There will always be corruption and inequality. It is not only human nature, but the way of nature its self. It is completely unavoidable. Happiness comes from having the courage to change the world to suit you, the wisdom to change your self to suit the world and knowing how much of each is necessary.
  • All problems become smaller if you don’t dodge them, but confront them. Touch a thistle timidly, and it pricks you; grasp it boldly, and its spines crumble.
  • Courage isn't about being fearless. It's about overcoming your fears.
  • An elephant pierced by arrows stands unperturbed. The courageous relent not in adversities.
  • Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength while loving someone deeply gives you courage.
  • Boasting at home is not valor; parade is not battle; when war comes the valiant will be known.
  • Courage easily finds its own eloquence.
  • Courage is a poison, forever potent and always inflicting those who wish to carry it.
  • Courage is being scared to death— and saddling up anyway.
  • Courage is like a muscle; it is strengthened by use.
  • Courage is not the absence of fear, but is the presence of fear and the will to go on.
  • Courage is not the lack of fear. It is acting in spite of it.
  • Courage is not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it.
  • Courage is not the towering oak / That sees storms come and go, / It is the fragile blossom / That opens in the snow.
  • Courage is often lack of insight, whereas cowardice in many cases is based on good information.
  • Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says I'll try again tomorrow.
  • Courage is rarely reckless or foolish... courage usually involves a highly realistic estimate of the odds that must be faced.
  • Courage is rightly esteemed the first of human qualities because it is the quality which guarantees all others.
  • Courage is sometimes frail as hope is frail: a fragile shoot between two stones that grows brave toward the sun though warmth and brightness fail, striving and faith the only strength it knows.
  • Courage is the first of human qualities because it is the quality which guarantees the others.
  • Cowardice. . . is almost always simply a lack of ability to suspend the functioning of the imagination.
  • Everyone has talent. What is rare is the courage to follow that talent to dark place where it leads.
  • Fear comes from uncertainty. When we are absolutely certain, whether of our worth or worthlessness, we are almost impervious to fear.
  • Fear imprisons; faith liberates; fear paralyzes; faith empowers; fear disheartens; faith encourages; fear sickens; faith heals; fear makes useless; faith makes serviceable.
  • Fear is an instructor of great sagacity, and the herald of all revolutions.
  • Few things are more attractive than courage, cheerfulness and optimism. But they take on an extra dimension when you realize that they are not a lucky assembly of character traits, but the result of an act of will—a deliberate attempt to tackle an unkind destiny with strength of purpose and good humor.
  • Flatter me, and I may not believe you. Criticize me, and I may not like you. Ignore me, and I may not forgive you. Encourage me, and I will not forget you.
  • Fortunately for themselves and the world, nearly all men are cowards and dare not act on what they believe. Nearly all our disasters come of a few fools having the 'courage of their convictions.'
  • God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.
  • Great occasions do not make heroes or cowards; they simply unveil them to the eyes. Silently and imperceptibly, as we wake or sleep, we grow strong or we grow weak, and at last some crisis shows us what we have become.
  • Grief has limits, whereas apprehension has none. For we grieve only for what we know has happened, but we fear all that possibly may happen.
  • I am old enough to know that victory is often a thing deferred, and rarely at the summit of courage. What is at the summit of courage, I think, is freedom. The freedom that comes with the knowledge that no earthly thing can break you.
  • I believe that anyone can conquer fear by doing the things he fears to do, provided he keeps doing them until he gets a record of successful experiences behind him.
  • If one man can stand tall, there will be hope for us all.
  • If we could be heroes, if just for one day.
  • If you let fear of consequence prevent you from following your deepest instinct, then your life will be safe, expedient and thin.
  • If you're careful enough, nothing bad or good will ever happen to you.
  • In times of stress, be bold and valiant.
  • It is better to die on one's feet than to live on one's knees.
  • It is curious—curious that physical courage should be so common in the world, and moral courage so rare.
  • It isn't the absence of conscience or values that prevents us from being all we should be, it is simply the lack of moral courage.
  • Last, but by no means least, courage— moral courage, the courage of one's convictions, the courage to see things through. The world is in a constant conspiracy against the brave. It's the age-old struggle— the roar of the crowd on one side and the voice of your conscience on the other.
  • Life is a compromise of what your ego wants to do, what experience tells you to do, and what nerves let you do.
  • Many of our fears are tissue-paper thin, and a single courageous step would carry us through them.
  • Never share a foxhole with anyone braver than you.
  • Nurture your mind with great thoughts, for you will never go any higher than you think.
  • Often I have found that the one thing that can save is the thing which appears most to threaten ... one has to go down into what one most fears and that process ... comes a saving flicker of light and energy that, even if it does not produce the courage of a hero, at any rate enables a trembling mortal to take one step further.
  • One must think like a hero merely to behave like a decent human being.
  • Pain nourishes courage. You can't be brave if you've only had wonderful things happen to you.
  • Proust has pointed out that the predisposition to love creates its own objects; is this not also true of fear?
  • So many people tiptoe through life, so carefully, to arrive, safely, at death.
  • Strength and courage aren't always measured in medals and victories. They are measured in the struggles they overcome. The strongest people aren't always the people who win, but the people who don't give up when they lose.
  • The art of living lies not in eliminating but in growing with troubles.
  • The greatest test of courage on the earth is to bear defeat without losing heart.
  • The important thing when you are going to do something brave is to have someone on hand to witness it.
  • The mighty oak was once a little nut that stood its ground.
  • The one permanent emotion of the inferior man is fear—fear of the unknown, the complex, the inexplicable. What he wants beyond everything else is safety.
  • To have courage for whatever comes in life— everything lies in that.
  • To see what is right and not to do it is cowardice.
  • What great thing would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?
  • What you are afraid to do is a clear indicator of the next thing you need to do.
  • Whatever you do, you need courage. Whatever course you decide upon, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong. There are always difficulties arising that tempt you to believe your critics are right. To map out a course of action and follow it to an end requires some of the same courage that a soldier needs. Peace has its victories, but it takes brave men and women to win them.
  • When it comes to the pinch, human beings are heroic.
  • Worrying is like a rocking chair: it gives you something to do, but it doesn't get you anywhere.
  • You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, 'I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.' You must do the thing you think you cannot do.
  • You will never do anything in this world without courage. It is the greatest quality of the mind next to honor.
  • We all have courage but those who think they don't aren't looking hard enough inside themselves... or are too scared of themselves.
  • Being courageous does not mean you don't fear no one or nothing. It means facing those fears for your own reason. Because a man without fear is too stupid to live.
  • One of my greatest fears, one of those few things that keeps me awake at night and troubles my dreams, is that, when the moment of truth comes, I will fail. This is surpassed only by the fear that when that moment arrives, I will not fail, but will lack the courage to try.
  • Courage is not fearlessness, but the mastery of those fears and the ability to overcome them.
  • Courage = Love + Hope + Fear
    • Shomam
  • You only really discover the strength of your spine when your back is against the wall.

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