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  April 5, 2013
A Profile in Courage...


We all seem to have a friend like my friend David.

David has a great job in the financial sector.  He is an extremely hard worker... he has a beautiful home which is tastefully furnished and well-manicured. He drives a late-model European luxury car and his wife Laura drives a new SUV.

David loves to surround himself with friends, often hosting parties and get-togethers for any apparent occasion. He is generous to a fault with this time and money.

Unfortunately, David is also one of those people that many of us never want to associate with in that he is the consummate pessimist.

According to him... nothing in his life is ever good...

He complains frequently about everything that is seemingly wrong with the world (at least in his eyes).

He lives his life in constant fear of getting sick... losing his job... his wife Laura finding someone else and divorcing him... his children not getting into the right schools... and what other people think of him.

He often goes on fad diets because he thinks that he weighs too much... but in reality... he nearly lives at the gym and has a sculptured body that Brad Pitt would envy...  

In the eyes of most people, David is living the dream... but in reality he is absolutely miserable and frankly no one wants to listen to his gripes and complaints about his apparent horrible life.

Despite their successes... some people can never seem to find happiness.

Doing what it takes to achieve personal success and happiness requires more than just discipline; it also takes a great deal of courage.

Despite what many people think, courage is not the opposite of fear.  In each of us, a certain degree of fear or insecurity is present at one time or another.

There are literally hundreds of different known fears and phobias... fear of failing... the fear of success... the fear of the known (clowns, dogs, heights, germs, etc.) and the fear of the unknown (dying, losing what they have, or what other people think)... fear of being in front of an audience...

If we dig a little deeper, we’ll find out that most of our fears can be summarized as "the fear of something that we cannot control" or the fear of being helpless and victimized.

Fear can be a good thing. Rational fear prevents us from normally putting ourselves into harm’s way or taking undue risks.

Some fears, however, are irrational. These are fears with an enormously high probability that they will never happen (the fear that the earth will collide with an asteroid for instance).

We are told that today’s world is fraught with uncertainty, so our fears are indeed warranted...

However in reality... the world today is no less uncertain than it was 50, 100, 200 or 500 years ago and in many instances, the world is actually safer and more predictable than it has ever been throughout time.

Live spans (and the quality of life) have been elongated due to advances in medicine, availability of preventive and emergency care, and predictive lifestyle changes (such as the link between smoking and heart disease and cancer).

Even with the recent blip in the economy, our relative wealth exceeds that of any other time in history. Our stores are filled to the rafters with food, clothing and other modern conveniences.

As a whole, less people are dying each day from starvation, disease, wars, and natural disasters. We are truly living in a moment of history that is better than any other time in our past.

Despite all of the evidence, our fears can paralyze us from acting or living a rich and fulfilling life.

Courage isn’t the absence of fear but rather more about moving forward despite the fear.

The great Greek philosopher, Aristotle, more than two thousand years ago, wrote that "A truly courageous person is not someone who never feels fear, but rather fears the right thing, at the right time, for the right reason".

A courageous person doesn’t fear things that are beyond their control... they are not afraid of the unknown or what might happen to them... they do not feel helpless or unable to act... they don’t dream up "what if" scenarios that prevent them from even trying...

Courageous people do not hide in the past... longing for the so-called glory days that supposedly once were. They don’t cast blame or shift responsibilities onto others for their misfortunes or bad decisions.

Courageous people do not rue their bad luck and spend time feeling sorry for themselves.

Courageous people do not believe that their success, happiness and salvation will come from some magical or mythical event in the future. Their knight in shining armor will someday arrive and save them from whatever perils they might face in life...

The truly courageous person is someone who believes in a core set of principles and ideals to help guide them in their life... they are unafraid of what others think of them and instead think independently and formulate their own ideas and opinions... courageous people do not try to keep others down but rather tries their best at lifting others up by leading, teaching, and encouraging them.

The truly courageous person takes control of their own life... makes their own decisions... and acts under their own accord...

The courageous person doesn’t waste valuable resources in the attempt to make appearances and false impressions but rather project their real self, complete with vulnerabilities, insecurities and flaws.

Courageous people know that they don’t have all the answers and never pretend that they are all-knowing... they aren’t afraid to solicit the counsel of others and do not fear others with opposing views and/or opinions...

Courageous people work hard every day to prepare themselves for success... both in the present and in the future... they don’t fear the success of others and share their knowledge and resources to help others in need...

Courageous people never judge others but are content in living their own lives... they don’t attempt to force others to adopt their lifestyle or beliefs... they are autonomous and try to lead by example rather than by coercion or intimidation.

Being courageous isn’t about taking the easiest path... it’s about living your life according to principles and discipline...

Being courageous gives us permission to be happy with our successes and to freely share our success with others without guilt or worry.

People like my friend David may have found success through fear (the fear of not having enough or perhaps the fear of failure)...

... but he has yet to find the courage to truly enjoy his life.

Thank you for your support of OptiFuse, where we hope that you always live the life that you desire and that you find happiness along the way...


Jim Kalb

Email - jimk@optifuse.com
Website - www.optifuse.com

Blog - www.optifuse.blogspot.com
Twitter - @OptiFuse

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