Centuries ago, Socrates asked an important question, “What is courage?” Courage is easy to find, but difficult to define.
Although courage has been the topic of philosophical and intellectual dialogue for centuries, the scientific study of courage is only a few decades old. Some courageous positive psychologists have proposed this definition of courage:
“Dispositional psychological courage is the cognitive process of defining risk, identifying and considering alternative actions, and choosing to act in spite of potential negative consequences in an effort to obtain “good” for self or others recognizing that this perceived good may not be realized.” -O’Byrne, Lopez & Peterson, 2000
They also propose that there are three 'brands' of courage:
Physical courage - physical behavior motivated by upholding the values of society, in the face of potential physical injury. An example of physical courage is a firefighter saving a child from a burning home.
Moral courage - standing up for one’s authentic beliefs and values in the face of disapproval or rejection. An example of moral courage is someone standing up to a bully, or voting against the majority.
Vital courage - perseverance through a disability, illness or challenge, in the face of an uncertain outcome. An example of vital courage is continuing to fight cancer with an unknown or ambiguous outcome, or dealing with a destructive habit like quitting smoking.
Courage is the vehicle for facing our fears, allowing us to do what needs to be done. Courage can be loud - like saving a life, or taking a stand on an issue you believe in. Courage can be quiet - like taking a good look at the person in the mirror, or simply getting out of bed in the morning.The outcome of courage? A sense of pride, satisfaction, engagement, confidence, and knowing that when you are called to rise to the occasion, you have the ability and you will rise.
Courage is a universal virtue that is highly valued in all cultures. Many people hold courage as the most important virtue. Everyone likely has the capacity for courage and has exhibited it at some point in their past. Think about something courageous you have done. What was that like? What does courage mean to you? Think about it, and whatever it means to you, LIVE WHAT YOU WEAR!
COURAGE. Try it on for size.