On Courage

Most of our obstacles would melt away if, instead of cowering before them, we should make up our minds to walk boldly through them.
— Orison Swett Marden.

Have you heard the story of the baby elephant tied to the stake? When it’s small, it cannot break free, and when it is fully grown, it still thinks it is imprisoned. But in fact, it could pull up the stake and free itself at any time.

Many of us are like that elephant.

At one point we felt small, powerless, and trapped. And it was perhaps true at the time. But things change.

And we change.

But if we fail to see that, we remain small and powerless in our own minds. And the obstacles before us seem insurmountable when in fact that is not the case. Unfortunately, we will never learn that if we don’t move beyond our comfort zone.

The world is truly wide, and we can choose to leave the safety of the familiar to grow into our own future.

One thought on “On Courage”

  1. “The Abnormal Is Not Courage” by Jack Gilbert

    The Poles rode out from Warsaw against the German
    Tanks on horses. Rode knowing, in sunlight, with sabers,
    A magnitude of beauty that allows me no peace.
    And yet this poem would lessen that day. Question
    The bravery. Say it’s not courage. Call it a passion.
    Would say courage isn’t that. Not at its best.
    It was impossib1e, and with form. They rode in sunlight,
    Were mangled. But I say courage is not the abnormal.
    Not the marvelous act. Not Macbeth with fine speeches.
    The worthless can manage in public, or for the moment.
    It is too near the whore’s heart: the bounty of impulse,
    And the failure to sustain even small kindness.
    Not the marvelous act, but the evident conclusion of being.
    Not strangeness, but a leap forward of the same quality.
    Accomplishment. The even loyalty. But fresh.
    Not the Prodigal Son, nor Faustus. But Penelope.
    The thing steady and clear. Then the crescendo.
    The real form. The culmination. And the exceeding.
    Not the surprise. The amazed understanding. The marriage,
    Not the month’s rapture. Not the exception. The beauty
    That is of many days. Steady and clear.
    It is the normal excellence, of long accomplishment.

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