Today, as we embark on the second half of 2015, I’m starting a new series of blog posts on my current favourite topic – COURAGE. So much that ails the world today stems from fear, and the world needs an antidote.
Over the coming couple of months I’m going to share my Seven Steps to Greater Courage. And, because I used to be a management consultant we’re going to have an acronym. Management Consultants particularly like TLAs (Three Letter Acronyms – kaboom!) but because I like to over-deliver, I’ve created a Seven Letter Acronym, COURAGE, which I will start to explain next week.
Meanwhile, a couple of stories for you.
The Cowardly Lion
I recently found out something interesting about the Cowardly Lion in the Wizard of Oz. In the movie, the lion joins Dorothy on her quest to meet the Wizard because he wants to ask the Wizard for courage. Even though the lion does many deeds of great bravery on the way to Oz, it is only when the Wizard gives him a badge with the word Courage on it, that he realises he has been courageous all along.
But in the original book, the Wizard doesn’t give the lion a badge. He gives him a drink of a mysterious clear liquid, the precise nature of which is unknown, but according to Wikipedia it is probably gin… which to me makes a lot more sense.
Over the coming weeks I would like to tell you a story about courage and about how I rowed across oceans to find it – only to find that, like the Cowardly Lion, I actually had it all along, and why I believe that YOU and every other person reading this blog post has it too.
Even without gin. 🙂
The Two Wolves
There is a story about a young Cherokee boy who goes to his grandfather, aggrieved because of some perceived injustice, and wanting revenge.
The grandfather listens to his story, and then says, “There are two wolves inside me, having a tremendous fight. The one wolf is fear. It is anger, envy, sorrow, greed, arrogance, self pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority and ego. The other wolf is courage. It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith. And you also have these two wolves fighting inside of you.”
“Which wolf will win?” asks the grandson.
The wise old grandfather smiles and quietly replies, “The wolf you feed.”
So let’s explore how we humans can stop feeding the wolf of fear, and started feeding the wolf of courage.
What do you think?
I’m looking forward to sharing this journey with you, and I’d love it to be a dialogue, not just me yammering on from my pulpit. So please do me the great honour of posting a comment below to let me know your thoughts on courage, and let’s get this conversation rolling!
I have both in spades, I do see that, but learning how the feed the right one will be interesting.
I look forward to these posts.
I would love it if you had a subscribe to comments plugin, thanks.
Roz, I met you in Asheville a couple of years back when you were promoting your book. I love your writing and your spirit. My work helps individuals, organizations, and communities create their own amazing year. There are three tenets: Awareness, intention, and practice. Most people seem to have at least a basic understanding of courage but fail to see courage as a daily practice. When the big events show up in our life, if we have not been practicing courage on the little things, it can be hard to interrupt habits of behavior to step into the bigger story of who we can be. Just thinking out loud. I look forward to additional posts. Doc Klein
Hey Doc! I remember! Didn’t you write a poem on a napkin?
I love the Denholm Elliot quote: “Surprise yourself every day with your own courage”. You’re so right – courage is a habit!
Hi Leslie. I’ll do my best to answer that over the coming weeks.
Thanks also for the plugin request – I’ve made a note to look into it, as just dashing out the door now to a party for people interested in recycling plastic! 🙂
I had the pleasure of meeting you when you came to Syracuse University (and to my school, Eagle Hill Middle School) two years ago. Your presentation was one my students will never forget – thank you!
This latest post featuring the story about the wolves will be incorporated to my lessons for the fall. We read a story about a young boy seeking revenge and take a detour from the story to talk about those emotions. This is the perfect piece to add.
Also, just wanted to let you is how I enjoy your posts – the school year is finally over and I can devote time to my own reading and thinking! Thanks for such inspiration!
Lovely to hear from you, Carol. I was just speaking at a school here in the UK this morning, and so it’s fresh in my mind how much I love speaking at schools and spreading the message that we can all live courageously, challenge the impossible, and define our own success.
Have a fabulous and well-earned summer break!
Roz, You were my seat mate flying from Sydney to San Francisco way back in late Feb. 2008. I’ll never forget you and your story at that time. Bev
I’m so happy you’ve stayed in touch all this time, Bev! Wonderful to hear from you.
OK, I could like this conversation. Professional trolls stay away. My BS meter is always on, regrettably.
Ros. You gave me a beautiful scarf about five years ago in Islington Green, and whenever I put it on, it reminds me of your courage and achievements, and thereby gives me courage too. Thank you so much.
Hello Mark! Yes, I remember – you’re a friend of Polly Higgins, aren’t you? How ARE you? I think you were househunting last time we spoke.
I’m loving these comments – lots of lovely people from my history popping back up to say hello. Amazing how the internet allows us to stay connected with our pasts – for better or worse, but in my case, very much for the better!
Roz, Can’t wait to join you as you dive into the 7 steps of COURAGE.
I often think we only see courage as the mettle to handle life or death situations, but it takes courage to simply be yourself, day in and out, without succumbing to the pressure to conform, follow or compromise.
Your ocean rows taught me a lot about showing up daily, which is my definition of courage.
Ooh! Glad you said that. I’ll be getting to what you’re saying when we reach the G of COURAGE. You’re so right – often it takes enormous courage just to keep swinging your legs out of bed in the morning and keeping on keeping on.
Rozzie, it’s your old Fanboy from Savage, MN USA here.
Like you, I had my own journey of self inventory in my working life,
and ironically, during that time my fear wolf was properly
nourished with Gin (Beefeater!) Jumping to present day, I’m
just past a significant health event in 2014 that left me weak, sickly, drained, and depressed. I can tell you it taught me a lot about humility and hope. I implemented a daily meditative practice that repeats the message of the courage wolf traits to bring myself to full recovery here in 2015. The experience has made me a better person.
Thanks for sharing your story, Tracy. It is amazing and wonderful how you have used mind over matter to bring yourself back to health. Thanks for the reminder that we have such power over our own wellbeing. Happy to hear you are now fully restored!
I admire you and your courage especially you are a woman . Having no grit to stick on my direction and courage to step out is always obstacles for me .i wish I can move forward and show me your tips for me ,thks
You’re so very welcome, Bryan!
Hi Roz, Nobody is more qualified to talk on the subject of courage than you, and I think everyone at some stage in their lives has to show this quality be it great or small, so here is a differant angle on it – the crystal Aquamarine,’the Stone of Courage’ – calming, reduces stress, quietens the mind and harmonizes its surroundings. Once thought to counteract forces of darknes and carried by sailors as a talisman against drowning, so I would need a shed load I think !
Wish I’d had some aquamarine on my boat!
It’s funny how courage is really a matter of belief. If we believe we have it, we do. If we don’t believe, we don’t. So if there is something that makes us believe, like a talisman or the Cowardly Lion’s courage badge (or gin!) it actually works.
I’ve been privilaged to see the courage of people volunteering to help discouraged people, mainly aboriginal, in our city in central Canada. It’s dirty work, progress is slow, it can be dangerous if substance abuse is involved, there is no recognition and a lot of mainstream society just wants to forget about the problem. These volunteers are “feeding the wolf of courage” as they go against high odds to do the best of good for the most desperate of people in our community.
That is REAL courage, Tom. I really admire people with the courage to keep showing up, doing thankless and unpleasant work, purely out of the goodness of their hearts.
Thanks for sharing.
I find Courage very strange. It amazes me how different people find they need courage. For example, I have no fear of traveling to strange lands, but I sometimes am frightened to make a phone call (scared off by having to get a badge in Brownies by making a phone call).
I hear you, Angela!
That’s how some coaching (NLP type stuff) can help, by taking the courage we feel in one arena, and giving us the skills to draw on that courage in another arena that used to scare us. It’s pretty cool stuff!
I look forward to following this conversation, for finding the courage inside of me is something that I need to do.
Hi Bill. I look forward to being of service – I’d love to get your feedback in a couple of months to see if this series has helped, and if not, what the sticking points are. We’ll crack it!
Dearest Roz….this is a wonderful tool. I love allegory and imagery.
I think Courage is an acronym for faith and strength. From faith comes strength….faith comes from various sources: our teachings; religion; science and the natural world; including, or starting with, the universe; and our experiences…..we are surrounded by this inexorable truth, even tho our faith can often be tested. So then, is our Courage. There are other names for it,ie, “grit”; “strength of character”; “coming from good stock, etc.
At the end of the day, dreams stir courage to achieve them, if we don’t allow ourselves to be stifled by fear or lack of self worth; exploring one’s own psyche and soul takes exquisite courage; emergency situations bring forth courage; everyday occurrences can foster the need for courage. Its at these times we discover what’s in us, based, after all, on what it is we wish to achieve…our happiness and well being and or that of others, including THE PLANET.
Hi Jeanne! Beautifully said. Thank you!
I saw you speak at Alternatives in St James^ Piccadilly about a year or so ago and bought one of your books. Inspirational. Look forward to reading your posts.
Hi Len – great to hear from you! Thanks for staying in touch and I hope you get a lot out of the COURAGE series!