I was listening to Julia Louis Dreyfus on her podcast Wiser Than Me and her guest, chef and food writer, Ruth Reichl said something that hit me. She said, “The best advice I have to give anyone. It’s the things that frighten you. Those are the things that you have to do. When something really scares you, you know, you have to do it.”
And that got me thinking about courage. In David Whyte’s book Consolations he writes about courage, “The French philosopher Camus used to tell himself quietly to live to the point of tears, not as a call for maudlin sentimentality, but as an invitation to the deep privilege of belonging, and the way belonging affects us, shapes and breaks our heart at a fundamental level. It is a fundamental dynamic of human incarnation to be moved by what we feel, as if surprised by the actuality and privilege of love and affection and its possible loss. Courage is what love looks like when tested by the simple everyday necessities of being alive.” Continue reading
In a Tim Ferriss podcast where he discusses highlights from his book Tools of Titans, he touches on courage. He mentions Cus D’Amato who coached Mike Tyson in the years before he became the youngest heavyweight champion of the world. Cus said, “The hero and the coward both feel the same thing, but the hero uses his fear, projects it onto his opponent, while the coward runs. It’s the same thing, fear, but it’s what you do with it that matters.”
Brené Brown talks about us having to choose courage or comfort. We cannot have both. And by having uncomfortable conversations we can grow and change the world around us. In fact, Tim Ferriss says, “A person’s success in life can usually be measured by the number of uncomfortable conversations he or she is willing to have.”
Brené is also well known for sharing President Theodore Roosevelt’s words when he said, “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
The person in the arena. The person with the courage to try. The person who knows that they may fail but takes action anyway.
Are we choosing courage or comfort? In our family, our work, the way we think about things that are happening in society. In the story we tell ourselves about ourselves. Do we toe the line or question if things could be different?
We all have fear. And we also all have it in us to be the hero of our own story. Are we willing to use our fear as fuel and fly?
Two people who made a big impression on me celebrated their birthdays today. British Prime Minister Winston Churchill was born 144 years ago on November 30th, 1874. The author of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain, was born on the same day in 1835, 183 years ago. Continue reading
Tears are streaming down my face. Just watched the documentary about the final 15-show tour of The Tragically Hip. Talk about bravery.
None of the band members thought the tour would actually happen. Based on how front man Gord Downie was doing after brain cancer surgery.
But they stoically met at the rehearsal stage and they prepared. Continue reading