Day 67: Do More…. is the first blog that kicks off the 3rd Essential of Personal Excellence, Courage. I thought I would take the liberty of writing and focusing on the word courage. I love Chet’s blog (Do More) and the story he offers, make sure you read it in the book. Allow me now to share a few thoughts on Courage.
The word courage comes from the Latin, Core, which means “heart”. Great literature is filled with poems, plays, stories and mythological tales that exhort men and women to “take heart” or be of good courage. So, to have courage simply means to have heart!
I remember reading the essay by C.S. Lewis titled, “Men Without Chests,” Lewis understood that large HEARTED men, “with chests,” were real men!” The great writer Eric Metaxas in his book, 7 Men, (the secret of their greatness), defines Courage this way, “to give of yourself for others when it costs you to do so and when everything tells you to look out for yourself first.”
And today, simply turn on the TV and watch the carnage in Ukraine, and you will see men and women with a cause, a purpose, a great big Why and the COURAGE to stand for their beliefs…… Freedom, Love of Country, a Future for Their Children! I heard a story about a young World Champion Boxer, a Ukrainian, but living and training outside Ukraine. He immediately came back to fight. There was a young Top Ranked Tennis Player who also returned to fight for his country. There were regular everyday citizens who had left the country and returned to fight for their country. A truly selfless act, an ACT of Courage. Would you do the same? Would I do that for my country?
Another example of courage and one I will never forget reading, is the story of William Wilberforce, 1759—1833. He gave up the chance to be prime minister of England. He was fighting for a noble cause that was way bigger than personal power and the prestige of leading his own country. At the time, England was a dominant world power. His cause was born on a walk to the Docks of England to do some research on different shipping companies and policies that impacted shipping. When he approached the dock’s, he was immediately overpowered by a horrible putrid smell that caused him to literally vomit in his tracks. The smell was coming from the cargo ships that were carrying African Slaves who had not seen daylight in weeks, chained below deck, with little water and food, laying in human waste, many dead from suffocating conditions and the dead bodies being thrown on carts and carried away. This was a sight that changed his life forever. He began to realize that everything he had been given, power, wealth, connections, and the power of oratory, was a gift from God. This gift had to be used for others and he vowed that day to abolish the slave trade. He was ridiculed, lost friends and his integrity and character attacked. With a relentless and tireless effort, the slave trade was abolished in 1808 and finally as he lay on his death bed, slavery was totally abolished in England in 1833.
Every day we have opportunities to exercise our courage and take a stand for what we believe or simply standing with another who needs our support. The question is…. will we do it? Will we take heart and stand up?