To accept whatever comes, regardless of the consequences, is to be unafraid. John Cage
Nowhere is this quote more applicable on than on the battle field. Fortunately most of us do not have to go through this life and death situation and hence we assume that this may not be very significant in our lives. The truth is unfortunately very different. We may not realize it but most of our waking hours is spend in reconciling to our fears both imaginary and real and mustering up courage to face the consequences boldly. Look at the variety of challenges that continuously and relentlessly pursue us; parental wrath, teachers wrath, academic pressures, pressures on relationships, lure of monetary gains, balancing our conscience, standing up for our rights, pain in various forms, depression and suicidal thoughts etc. The list is endless and our capacity to bear up theoretically unlimited but practically nonexistent.
To understand why we find it hard to be unafraid, it is essential to understand that each one of us attempts to have an utopian concept of life. This life we visualize as idyllic, stress free, well chartered and planned, remains well within our control and does not contain even a wee bit of pain or danger. When this notion is rudely disturbed then we are not really prepared for the unpleasant and often stressful happenings that spring up on us. It could be a rather stern teacher or a strict parent who jolts us first. It could be the betrayal by a friend or some close to us that can hurt us deeply. Illness, death of a loved one, inability to cope with the pressures of daily living etc. can stress us out and pressurize our peace of mind. It is at this point that we actually learn to cope with the stress and built up our own defense mechanisms to manage life. Yet we do not confront our problems but most time side step it.
When we side step problems, we are simply acting as cowards and not really being brave. Being brave means to be unafraid and that means we need to be more proactive and confront our fears. We do not really confront our fears because we are more focused on the consequences than on solving our immediate problem. This is like having a brain tumor and the surgeon refuses to operate because the patient can be incapacitated in the process but by leaving the tumor unattended death is more certain. On a personal level look back at school days and recollect the time when you skipped homework because of a wedding in the family where you had a swell time but knew you may be punished for your indiscretion of not doing the homework. Yet you braved the punishment because the fun was more alluring and a once in a life time opportunity. While I certainly don’t recommend not doing homework for trivial reasons, I would be even more strongly condemn not enjoying a once in a life time opportunity for fear of not so serious consequences.
Daring is all about taking calculated risks and occasionally going for broke because the stakes are worth it. One must be motivated, bold and focused when developing courage and being unafraid. One also needs to be able to distinguish between being foolhardy and being daring, being a hero and being a fool and being a coward and displaying courage. If the goal is clear, if we are passionate enough to reach it, then we get bold and brave enough to dare to reach out for the stars.
Remember: “He who is brave is free.”
- Read the poem the The Charge of the Light Brigade by Alfred Lord Tennyson http://www.nationalcenter.org/ChargeoftheLightBrigade.html
- Thing of 3 daring things you have done in your life and the consequences of it. Also think of those daring things that you didn’t dare do be it making a job change, standing up for your rights or ticking off a nasty colleague and ask your self why you didn’t do it.
This post is courtesy www.actspot.com
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