September 2, 2013

Courage: What's the Definition?

When we boil down what the most inspiring careers are made of, typically there are only two things remaining-- Talent and Courage. That's not entirely a career in the arts either. Doctors who start their own practice, a professor shaping young minds, or a president leading a nation all need a strong mix of the two. Therefore, these concepts are universal and apply to any field, craft, or profession. Taking it one step farther, Maria Callas once said, "that the more important of the two will always be courage." Granted, there is a host of complimentary factors that must be at work; but, in fact, whittled down in its simplest context she's made a powerful point. Courage is ultimately how we find happiness, overcome obstacles, and find deeper levels of our own personality. But aye, the rub...what is it?

Actually, it's hard to define exactly what the word means. In fact, it's highly individual and holds different meaning from person to person. For some it's the act of saving families from burning buildings; for others it means exploring new technology that helps discover life on Mars; for some, it's a high C for nine productions of Barber of Seville. So in effect, courage manifests differently across the board. But here's how it might be universal as Ms.Callas alluded...

Courage is a feeling, not an action; not a story in a book; not something we hear about on television. It is the combination of risk and gain, the feeling we have as something raps our potential and demands that we yield to what is right. Courage is that moment, somewhere deep inside, we know--not hope, not think, not wish-- that we've done something in the name of Good, something for the better, something right, something that teaches us about our souls. And then, we can clearly define courage when these moments remain near us, stretched out as the stepping stone for challenges or adventures yet unmet.

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