I think dear reader, that you are piecing together where I intend to go with this article. The ideal of the year for me is turning out to be courage.
To his credit, my father had always tried to make me repeat that I’m fearless. I think that was the wrong way to go about it. Let me continue to have fear, as long as I develop the courage to overcome it!
Almost everyday, I face a situation, where I find myself wanting to be escapist. I want to watch TV, have a drink, look at Social Media almost the minute I find something getting hard. Fears from far and wide teleport by my side, whispering to me how I will fail at the new task that I’m starting out because that’s the kind of person I am. Telling me I could never survive the confrontation I really need to have. Holding me back each time I’m about to take the plunge. “You will suffer, and how!”, says fear to me in a mocking tone!
And recently, through certain changes and some reflection and perhaps just through the passing of time, I have found started to find the courage to tell fear off! Also, each time I do find the courage to go ahead and not act out of fear, I get a massive kick of dopamine. Just like any other muscle, it seems to be getting strong the more I use it. I’m able to push myself into writing rather than watching TV, leave work early even if I haven’t been productive and take vacations without guilt. I’m able to shun aside things that were stressing me out into sitting in front of the TV for hours just a few months ago.
Every small act of courage gives me a hint into why courage has been a valued currency for earning respect throughout history. It must be more than just about skin-in-the-game. As Taleb writes, the moral thing is to fully partake in the downside of your risks. But why must taking risks be “good” in the first place? The signal of courage and risks and scars must mean something to us evolutionarily. Taking risk and surviving or not, is literally the definition of evolution via natural selection. It is as if nature selected us to have it’s own process embedded in our brains, enabling us to innovate.
If we truly believe freedom to be the highest ideal, then courage must follow as a very close second. As we strive to make the world safer for everyone’s freedom to be expressed, we must also aspire to be stronger! After all, a strong person doesn’t need to be unkind.