Why Talent Needs Courage To Flourish
WE think of courage as a quality required in times of extreme danger such as during war and economic recession. But it is much more larger than that. Courage is an essential human virtue. You cannot do anything worthwhile without courage. The person who exhibits courage is more often able to live without regrets.
When we think of people whose talent was elevated and tested by their courage, one who immediately comes to mind is the British war-time Prime Minister, Wiston Churchill. As a youngman, Churchill anticipated greatness for himself. But talent needs courage to flourish. The English clergyman Sydney Smith asserted: ‘‘A great deal of talent is lost to the world for want of a little courage.” To develop and discover your talent you need courage.
Our courage is tested when we seek truth that we know maybe painful. And a man does not know what he is made of until he is tested. If we fear the test then we will never get the chance to develop the talent. For the truth that makes men free is mostly the truth which men prefer not to hear. However, we are seldom asked to face flying bullets in a physical battle. Often, our tests are much more private involving internal battles many of us find painful.
In order to grow, we need to face truths about ourselves, which is often difficult to bear. Winston Churchill once said, ‘‘Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.” It takes a brave man to listen to unpleasant truths. Courage is tested when change is needed but inactivity is more comfortable. Never leaving the familiar means you are comfortable. But willingly letting go of the familiar means you are courageous. The American historian James Robinson said, ‘‘Greatness, in the last analysis is largely due to bravery – courage in escaping from old ideas and old standards and respectable ways of doing things.”
Our situation does not make us, we make our situation. Our circumstances don’t define, we must define our circumstances by our actions. At anytime, we must be willing to give up all we have in order to become all we can be. If you leave your comfort zone and bravely keep striving, you can reach heights you thought were beyond you. You can go further than those who possess greater talent than you. Italian actress Sophia Loren observed, ‘‘Getting ahead in a difficult profession requires avid faith in yourself. That is why some people with mediocre talent, but with inner drive, go much further than people with vastly superior talent.”
Our courage will be tested when our convictions are challenged. Anytime you are willing to stand up for something, someone will be willing to oppose you. People who express their convictions and try to live them out, will experience conflict from opponents. Which is why you need courage for any action you take. To map out a plan and follow it through requires the courage of soldiers in action. It takes courage to win the victory of peace. The opposite of courage isn’t cowardice, it is comformity. It is not enough to believe in a cause. You need to live for something. A belief is what you argue about. But a conviction is something you can die for. You are not really living unless there are things in your life for which you are willing to die. Bravery is the capacity to act properly even when you are scared to death. And you have not learned a thing until you have applied it in action. What seems impossible is often possible with courage.
In relationships, you go to a higher level when you treat others better than they treat you. When it comes to relationships, there are three routes: the low road – where we treat others worse than they treat us. The middle road where we treat others the same as they treat us. And the high road – where we treat others better than they treat us.
Thus, taking the high road requires courage. It also requires forgiveness. It takes a forgiving spirit to treat others better than they treat him. Always look for courage inside rather than outside of you. Also, you grow in courage by doing the right thing instead of the expedient thing. So, your step forward growing your talent is to decide to be courageous. Occupying a leadership position won’t give you courage, but courage can turn you to a leader.