Why Courage?

Why is it that heroes are always characterized as brave?

In every story and movie I know, the hero (despite whatever shortcoming they have), is always being depicted as courageous. The Gryffindor. The dauntless. The brave warrior. The valiant avengers. Why? Why can’t we be heroes without being brave?

I thought about this from time to time. Why can’t someone be considered a hero simply because he’s smart? Because she’s kind? Because they’re honest? Or simply because they quietly follow the rule and doesn’t hurt anyone?

I’m not brave. I never was.

I’m not big at traveling to new places or being daring and spontaneous, jumping into waters and running with the wind to get that adrenaline rush. I like to quietly pretend that I’m invisible in a crowded room, am terrible at making small talks, and often shied away from meeting new people. I’m not particularly honorable either. Even with my idealism (or whatever left of it) I think I have never been particularly fond of confrontations.

Instead, I hide in my cave, filled with sketchbooks and stories about faraway lands. Sometimes, I try to be good, but I never really wanted to be brave.

Again, why is courage seems to be so important?

The more I think about it… perhaps, the only way somebody could make a difference in their life or somebody else’s, is through finding the courage to step out, disturb the waters a little, and just say… I’m gonna do it.

Because perhaps… Being smart is meaningless if we don’t try to create something. Maybe being kind is pointless if we don’t help another, and being honest is futile if we don’t speak out.

And those actions, take courage.

I saw this quote in an airport bookstore years ago. And somehow, I still remember it even until today.

“Everything I’ve ever done that ultimately was worthwhile… initially scared me to death” – Betty Bender.

Maybe it’s time for me to be one of those unlikely heroes.

And who knows, maybe it’s time for you to be one too.



7 thoughts on “Why Courage?”

      1. Another good question…! ❤ How do you define brave? Brave can be a verb as well. To me, it implies a little bit of risk taking / ruthlessness, but at the same time it can be a selflessness that brings out the willingness to take somewhat known risk for a cause. I suspect that we all have some potion of brave in us. But then, I feel that we almost always have other options to consider before we have to 'brave it' in modern days, at least for those of us who live in more privileged peaceful countries. Personally, I prefer to choose the mild path whenever possible. 🙂

  1. I think the answer is in how we define courage. I view it as doing that of which you are frightened. It doesn’t take courage to do something you have no fear of. But Frodo, in The Lord of the Rings was always frightened, but he moved forward anyway. Does that make sense?

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