COURAGE IS NOT THE ABSENCE OF FEAR
This is my first of 15 posts , in which I reflect on the book MANDELA'S WAY and share extracts from his writings . This is in honour of Madiba's 93rd birthday which he celebrated on 18 July 2011 .
EXTRACT : "Mandela himself defines courage in a curious way . He does not see it as innate , or as a kind of elixir we can drink , or learned in any conventional way . He sees it as the way we "choose" to be . None of us is born courageous , he would say ; it is all in how we react to different situations ."
I would never have imagined that the concept of courage could actually co-exist with the concept of fear . To me this means that , the brave person is the one who has "chosen" to manage his fears – he is not without fear , but has simply learned how to deal with it ! It's a great idea to place the two side by side , since we tend to place the two into seperate compartments and label someone as either brave or cowardly .
This is a strange way of looking at it , but seems to make sense when I think of how terrified I was at the thought of posting my writing on a blog for public consumption ! What if nobody read my stuff ? What if people laughed at my writing ? Was it "good enough" ? These thoughts/fears ran through my mind … and now I feel that even if people don't read it or feel that it's not good enough , it doesn't really matter to me . Yes , I'm human and still feel anxious from time to time but I've "chosen" to deal with it – and every one is entitled to his/her opinion/likes/dislikes …
But exposing your writing for everybody to read is hardly life-threatening . What about the person who finds himself in a situation that is a matter of life or death ? That is an entirely different story … do any readers have thoughts to share ?