Character traits



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Courage

CHARACTER TRAITS



COURAGEOUS

willing to take risks, daring, bold, fearless





COWARDLY

fearful, spineless, timid






  1. Conceptual definitions of courageous and cowardly

Nelson Mandela stated that “I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” Courage is about more than just physical strength. It is also about the “mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty” (Merriam-Webster).


Physical danger may be the first thing that comes to mind when you think about what you must venture, persevere, and withstand to be viewed as a courageous person. Soldiers who defend our country risk their lives every day. They are daring, bold, and fearless. While people like soldiers exhibit courage when they face and deal with physical danger on a daily basis, you do not have to encounter a situation where your life is in danger to exhibit courage.
Courage also requires mettle, “an ingrained capacity for meeting strain or difficulty with fortitude and resilience,” and spirit, “a quality of temperament enabling one to hold one’s own or keep up one’s morale when opposed or threatened” (Merriam-Webster). Courageous people pass challenges that test their mettle and display spirits that are unbroken by failure. These challenges may arise in your daily life: your work, your school, your home. Regardless of where you are, you must be prepared to face these challenges.
Col. Bill Welsh states that courage can be defined into two categories: physical courage and moral courage. Physical courage means that you face and deal with pain, danger, or even death rather than withdraw from those things. Moral courage means that you make the choice to do the right thing even when that may be the most difficult thing to do. You must be willing to know what’s right and do what’s right. Rather than physical harm, you may face the shame or scandal the results from following your convictions.
Courage can also be found in people who are dealing with issues and problems like disease or personal loss. When life is hard, it is easy to be timid and let these situations define you. Conquering fear means that you continue to press on and not let these situations get the better of you. You may not know how you will react when you are faced with circumstances that require physical or mental courage. That does not mean that you are not prepared to face these situations when they occur.
When you are faced with these situations in your personal and professional life, remember that being fearful, spineless, and timid does not get you anywhere. Fear can be something that debilitates and paralyzes you and leaves you scared to take the risks that will move you forward in life. To be courageous, you need to be willing to take the risks that will allow you to develop into a person that can triumph and conquer fear.

  1. How courage is viewed in the U.S. and globally

United States: If you were to travel to Washington D.C. and enter the Senate Chamber on the west side you would see a carved marble relief titled “Courage” depicting a warrior and serpent locked in battle. 100 of our country’s leaders, who are elected by U.S. citizens to represent all fifty states, see this image, depicted below, as they go to work each day. Sculptor Lee Lawrie says that “courage symbolizes our nation, which unflinchingly battles Evil and vanquishes it.”

Americans admire people that exhibit physical and mental courage. We look up to people that go to battle to protect our country. We applaud people that make the difficult choice of right over wrong despite the external and internal pressure to make the easy choice. We encourage our children to “just say no” to peer pressure. We respect them, because they have the courage of convictions to do what is right. Our heroes are people who portray the American spirit which requires courage in the face of difficult circumstances.

Middle East: Irshad Manji recently published a book entitled “The Trouble with Islam Today: A Muslim’s Call for Reform in Her Faith.” Her book has been published in almost 30 countries and languages. Her Moral Courage Project encourages youth to send her answers to questions like these.
I disagree with my community about…

If I say what I think, the worst that can happen is…

If I say what I think, the best that can happen is…

Should I say what I think? I’ve decided that…


To her, moral courage is “the willingness to be original, unique and different from everyone else in your group.” She understands that it may be difficult for Muslim youth to take criticism from their parents, friends, preachers, teachers and bosses who ask them to conform. Her goal is to teach “young leaders to break silences for the sake of a greater good.”
Asia: The Chinese characters for courage are depicted below. The inscription on the stationery reads “He who sacrifices his conscience to ambition burns a picture to obtain the ashes.” Kong Ye De’s poem of what courage means to him eloquently illustrates what courage means to many Asian people.


Courage doesn’t always shout.

Sometimes courage is subtle voice

Saying at the end of the day:



I will try again tomorrow.







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