How Do You Define Courage?

courage definition“I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It’s when you know you’re licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what.” ― Atticus Finch

“The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud.” ― Coco Chanel

Clearly, I could talk forever and a day about courage, and lots of people have already spoken their piece about it.

But I don’t want to go on and on, ad infinitum without hearing from you!

I want to know how you define courage.

I enjoy blogging because of the continuous feedback loops. It’s a social medium meant to connect and engage people in dynamic dialogue.

So, leave a comment with your definition of courage.

Your definition may be short or long; descriptive, narrative, or expository; a personal example or an intellectual philosophy.

You can quote others or write a poem.

Feel free to post more than one.

I’ll also be asking the same question of Facebook and Twitter, so you can read what others have to say on those networks as well.

You can tweet to @SLWrites or post to my Facebook page.

You can attach appropriate (PG) images or links to relevant content.

Like, retweet, or reply to other definitions that appreciate.

Do what you feel as long as you answer the question:

How do you define courage?


I’ll be doing a follow up post compiling all of the favorite quotes. Come back to see what’s made the list.

18 thoughts on “How Do You Define Courage?

    • Not cliche, just true! Well said, Jon, and thanks for chiming in!

  1. Crystal Spraggins on said:

    What Jon said.:) I’d also add that courage is being who you are and accepting the consequences, knowing that not everyone is going to like it.

    • Crystal, this has been the story of my life! “To thine own self be true.”

  2. The life philosophy in which my belief system works says – even smallest things matter. What may look like a small act of courage is courage nevertheless.

    Running away from things you find unpleasant causes suffering. But facing and challenging such situations will enrich your life and requires courage.

    The important thing is to be willing to take a step forward. and eventually – courage is the power that makes our lives brilliant.
    Rohit Sharma recently posted..What is your Revolution?My Profile

    • Very well said! If we can’t be courageous in the small, everyday acts, then we won’t be prepared for the moments that require great courage.

  3. I use a definition that comes from the root of the word courage, “cour” or heart. Action from the heart.

    • Ha! Love it. So much of our actions are based on fear, obligations, other people’s expectations, etc. It’s so rare to act from the heart. Thanks for your input!

  4. I agree with Rohit above, “even the small things matter.” If you can’t be trusted to be brave in small situations, you probably won’t be brave in big situations either. So I think I would define courage as a habit of always doing what is right, no matter if anyone is watching or not.
    Kathleen Caron recently posted..what is your pet peeve (and why are you petting it anyway?)My Profile

    • Very true, Kathleen. Some people think that courage comes in the big moments, but it won’t unless we’ve been courageous all along in the small everyday moments.

  5. This one’s going to be long.

    Courage is the willingness to stand up for yourself and for your loved ones even when everyone else is telling you to shut up.

    When my fiancé (“Sweetie”) and I went to the Seattle Mariners Opening Day game, the child behind Sweetie kept kicking his chair. Eventually Sweetie turned around and asked the child “please stop kicking my seat.”

    The child looked ten years old but was actually only five. And autistic. As the mother pointedly called out as she guilt-tripped Sweetie. But she took it too far. Even after Richard immediately apologized for the misunderstanding, she kept yelling at him and calling him cuss names.

    It was inappropriate. She’d had her say. Sweetie had already apologized. It should have been left alone. Instead, she used profanity to spend the next half hour abusing my loved one, who never would have said anything if he’d known the child was only five and autistic in the first place.

    Sweetie wanted me to keep quiet.

    So I went to the usher, explained the situation and asked her to intervene.

    Then the mother got snippy with me. My last nerve broke when she snapped her fingers in my face and said, “I’m done talking to you.”

    (A-a-a-and we’re done taking appropriate measures.)

    I’m less than five feet tall and I look ten years younger than I am. I don’t think she was expecting me to jump out of my seat, get in her face and aim both verbal barrels her way. Oh yeah, by the way, I can also boom my voice with the best of ‘em, especially when I’ve reached Ugly Mad.

    We had a loud, animated verbal altercation right there on the spot. I was so angry, I wanted to smack her mouth straight. The usher had to stand in between us and was, I suspect, about to call security before the mother decided to pack up her troop, which included one angry grandmother, and leave.

    And we exchanged words right up to the last second. I was not backing down.

    I’m a tough Texas woman with a strong Southern backbone. I will not let anyone abuse my family, especially Sweetie. I don’t care if it’s the mother of an autistic child. I don’t care if I look like the biggest witch on the planet. I don’t care if I have to fight a losing battle. I don’t care if I get boo’d by the crowd. I don’t even care if Sweetie spends the next 5 hours telling me I was wrong and yelling at me for it. I’ll be damned to the ninth circle of hell before I sit back and let any treat him like that.

    I will go to the mat for my sweetheart against anyone, any time.
    Erica recently posted..How this Little Ducky Went Freelance: Part 1My Profile

    • What storytelling abilities you have! I was on the edge of my seat. Lol. One thing about bullies is that they never expect that certain people will stand up for themselves. They mistake kindness for weakness.

  6. Geez, tough question! To me courage is not a word that can be defined but rather an ora or action around a person…you just know it when you see it. But if I had to try to define it, I’d say courage is being able to do what needs to be done regardless of the consequences.
    I found your post through problogger Discussion Post contest. I am participating too.

    • Cool! The abstract ideas are always challenging to pin down, but there’s lots to be gained from trying. Thanks for your input!

  7. Hi, Sarah! First time here and found you through PB!

    Ah, I love the topic of courage. Confidence to me is the ability to take action not because you want to, but because you know you have to. Those risks you know you should take to further your career or better your life? Go for it. A lot of people are afraid of taking risks and they get too comfortable where they are so they make 0 attempts. That’s not courage. A person of courage will do what they don’t want to do because they know they should.
    Vincent Nguyen recently posted..Who Do You Want to Be in 2030? [Discussion]My Profile

    • You bring up a good word–“comfortable.” The comfort zone can easily become the “danger zone,” the “no flying zone” that keeps us from our dreams. Great point!

  8. I don’t think I can say it any better than G. K. Chesterton did: courage is “a strong desire to live taking the form of a readiness to die.” Here’s the full quote:

    “Take the case of courage. No quality has ever so much addled the brains and tangled the definitions of merely rational sages. Courage is almost a contradiction in terms. It means a strong desire to live taking the form of a readiness to die. ‘He that will lose his life, the same shall save it,’ is not a piece of mysticism for saints and heroes. It is a piece of everyday advice for sailors or mountaineers. It might be printed in an Alpine guide or a drill book. This paradox is the whole principle of courage; even of quite earthly or brutal courage. A man cut off by the sea may save his life if he will risk it on the precipice.

    He can only get away from death by continually stepping within an inch of it. A soldier surrounded by enemies, if he is to cut his way out, needs to combine a strong desire for living with a strange carelessness about dying. He must not merely cling to life, for then he will be a coward, and will not escape. He must not merely wait for death, for then he will be a suicide, and will not escape. He must seek his life in a spirit of furious indifference to it; he must desire life like water and yet drink death like wine.”

    Unfortunately, courage seems to have become one of those trivialized words (like the word “epic”). This risks us not fully appreciating the sacrifices and amazing courage of those who are true heroes. But even if we never encounter a situation like having to rescue someone from a burning building, I think we can still act courageously in our lives: love our family enough that we would be willing to die for them or stand firm for our beliefs in the face of ridicule or live a life that will inspire others.

    Thanks for this thought provoking question!
    Nicole recently posted..Margaret Thatcher’s 5 Steps To Achieving GreatnessMy Profile

    • Thank you for such an insightful quote, one I’d never heard of. I’m going to see if I can find the whole text. I’m curious now. I liked your blog niche BTW. I’m also an educator and passionate about inspiring younger generations.

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