Courage - Starting the Year off Right

Courage - It starts in the mind

Have you ever noticed how we talk to each other? "Take it easy; Don't work too hard; Take Care?" These are all statements of caution. These statements are about avoiding risk, protecting what we have, or not moving forward.

When we talk that way to others or to ourselves, we are subconsciously programming our minds to approach the next opportunity with hesitance and caution rather than courage.

We have become a society that focuses on protection, preservation, comfort and minimizing risk versus taking risk and achieving. The focus of our society is on entertainment, not achievement.

America was not founded on such premises. From Jamestown, the Pilgrims to the settlers who conquered the rugged west, these people were courageous, willing to take risk. Early Americans focused on the future and what could be gained, not on the past and what could be lost. The American Revolution was fought and won for freedom, not preservation of comfort. It was a risky thing to form a new country.

When our troops stormed the beaches at Normandy, they did not primarily focus on the fact that the Germans were shooting at them and that they needed to hunker down and protect themselves. Our soldiers focused on the objective , winning the war and the vital importance of taking the beach and beating the Germans. The clear objective enabled our men to take the risk, charge in spite of the bullets and succeed. Their higher calling enabled them to take risk, to have courage.

We have lost much of that mindset. The majority wants to be guaranteed a job, a pension, healthcare, a vacation, social security, etc. Our colleges train our children to take a job, not create a job. Academics shun risk taking.

Our society no longer teaches moral character of courage and the clear right from wrong but that everything is relative. When everything is relative, there is no need for courage.

I am not talking about taking reckless risks. What I am promoting is risk taking with a clear objective in mind. Having courage to face obstacles and to be so focused on the goal, that you are willing to endure the hardship, the challenge, the stress and the discomfort to achieve that goal!

How do you have courage in life? Have clearly defined goals with clearly defined benefits that are meaningful to you. These goals need to be future oriented, not preserving the past. If you are not focused on moving forward, then you are actually moving backward! If you are avoiding doing something because it is risky or could be hard, you are actually hurting yourself. You are training yourself to withdraw, to let circumstances control you or let others win.

When you know something is right, have courage and do it. Focus on the cause, the "rightness" of the act and not on the "What if" aspects of the bad happening. Most people are immobilized because they focus the majority of their thoughts on the "What if" bad things instead of the good results that could be achieved. Examine your thinking. Do you focus on the potentially bad consequences or the positive results?

If your children want to do something that seems kind of risky. Don't just talk them out of doing it. See this as an opportunity to help them evaluate risk and have courage to achieve. Teach your children how to take calculated risks. If you don't know how to take calculated risks, then learn together. Develop a plan, list the obstacles and what needs to be done to overcome or prevent them.

Most people focus on "Why not" to do something instead of "Why" to do something. The "WHY" (the benefit) is what gives courage.

So as you begin this New Year do two things: 1) change how you talk to yourself and others - encourage someone to succeed: "Go for it, win the prize, take risks" instead of "Take it easy and take care." 2) Identify areas where you need to have courage, identify the benefit of having courage and achieving your goal. Write it down. Tell yourself everyday "I am a courageous person." Tell your children the same. Post this on your mirror.

This new year live in the spirit of the men and women who founded America, be courageous!


Deuteronomy 31:6

"Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you."

Is there something that you know God is calling you to do but you are afraid? Is there a habit you need to break or a relationship you need to mend but are afraid to begin?

Have courage; ask God to help you. He promised that He is always with you. The problem many times is that we don't believe that so we shrink back, take things into our own hands and avoid risk.

1 John 4:17-18
"In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment, because in this world we are like him. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

God's love enables us to not fear but have courage. You must first receive that love before you can have no fear.

Happy New Year!


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