To achieve courage, start with discipline…

“Self-control is the chief element in self-respect and self-respect is the chief element in courage.”

Thucydides

This quote took some time for me to think through and meditate on the deep meaning behind the words. Clarity came for me when I started at the end and worked my way backwards through the quote. (Begin with the end in mind…) Below is my interpretation of each of these components and then the dictionary definition.

Courage = The ability to stand up for what you believe in, regardless of personal implications. The dictionary definition is: “mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty.”

Self-Respect = The awareness one has for who you are, what you believe in and why you believe what you do. The dictionary definition is: “a proper respect for oneself as a human being.”

Self-Control = That ability and discipline to make decisions that limit the control the outside world and your emotions have over your actions. The dictionary definition is: “restraint exercised over one’s own impulses, emotions, or desires.”

Working my way backwards through these gave me these thoughts. If I want to demonstrate courage in my thinking and actions (which I do) then I must know who I am and what I believe in, i.e., self-respect. To have this degree of self-respect I must have (self)control over my emotions and impulses so that my behaviors are a product of choice, not a reflection of others or the outside world.

So, when thinking through it this way it brings these questions to mind. What are the areas of my life and decision making that need greater discipline and control? How do poor decisions, or lack of decision, lead to lessened self-respect? What is the courage I wish to have and how can I change myself through discipline and self-control? What changes can I make that will reflect outwardly who I am and what I believe?

Heavy stuff for early in the morning but something I found to be both clarifying and thought provoking.

Do something!

“Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.”

Dale Carnegie

Sitting around waiting for things to happen just sucks. I am the world’s worst at being patient because sometimes patience just feels too much like inaction. I’ve long lived by the tule that it is better to do something, even if it is wrong, than to do nothing at all.

When you are doing something, anything, then you don’t have time to be afraid and worry about all the “what ifs.” Sometimes the action can be physical, sometimes it can be sitting down to reflect and plan the work. Doing something is the key. There is no time or space for sitting idly by in life. If you do, then you will reap what you sow which is nothing…

Courage > Comfort

“You can choose courage, or you can choose comfort, but you cannot choose both.”

Brené Brown

Which of these appeals more to you? It is easy to say “courage” but then you have to follow it up with action. I think another way of saying this is “You can choose change, or you can choose complacency, but you cannot choose both.”

It takes courage to change. It takes courage to recognize that something needs to be better. It takes courage to take action and hold yourself accountable to a higher standard than anyone else.

If you choose comfort that is your choice. Just don’t be upset if you don’t achieve what you dream about. It takes courage not comfort to achieve your dreams.

Do. The. Work.

“Do. The. Work. Every day, you have to do something you don’t want to do. Every day. Challenge yourself to be uncomfortable, push past the apathy and laziness and fear. Otherwise, the next day you’re going to have two things you don’t want to do, then three and four and five, and pretty soon, you can’t even get back to the first thing. And then all you can do is beat yourself up for the mess you’ve created, and now you’ve got a mental barrier to go along with the physical barriers.” 

Tim S. Grover

This quote comes from a book titled From Good to Great to Unstoppable that is is a very worthwhile read.  Tim is a trainer/performance coach for some of the world’s most elite athletes.  The kind of people who win championships and are the top 1% of the top 1%.  The type of folks that demonstrate the work ethic and drive written about above.  

Do you know what is interesting about this?  Every single one of us has this opportunity in our lives.  We might not all be genetically gifted by God to play football or basketball but every single one of us has the ability to “Do. The. Work.”  It is a choice.  Being a champion at something take relentless effort and doesn’t come without a high personal cost.

You have to choose to do the work.  You can either own the work, or the work will own you.  It’s your choice, but make no mistake, it is a choice.  Choose wisely.  

 

%d bloggers like this: