“Twenty years from now you will be disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” -Mark Twain
Getting up in the morning is not for the faint of heart. Being a man is not easy, but it never has been, I would guess. The demands on us are many; the hours in the day are still capped at twenty-four. We get tugged, second-guessed, pulled in different directions, and at the end of the day we are left wondering what happened. And sometimes it seems like those are the good days. You have to have strength and courage. One of the most important things I have learned along the way is this…
1. Stand out from the crowd.
I’ve learned that it is important to have the courage to stand by my convictions, those things that I know are right, those guiding principles that I know to stick with. Sometimes that means standing out from the crowd or not being popular, but sometimes that’s the only responsible place to be. It doesn’t necessarily make the days any easier, but at least I feel like I’m still heading in the right direction when the day is over and the next one is on its way.
2. Everyone is susceptible to pressure.
No one is immune to peer pressure, and we’re susceptible to it at any age. No one is immune to peer pressure, and we’re susceptible to it at any age. It’s just that as we get older, we do a better job of rationalizing it or hiding it altogether. But through the years, I’ve learned another way of dealing with it. Courage can be demonstrated by standing up to the school bully or intervening to prevent someone you don’t know from being hurt. But more often than not, it’s the day-to-day moments of reaching down inside yourself to find the courage to stand alone that can be the toughest.
3. Be aware of your internal compass.
I pay attention to my internal compass. I think it has always been there, guiding me, but as I’ve matured, I’ve listened to it better and more often. It helps me stay “lashed to the mast,” as Homer wrote of Odysseus doing to keep from being drawn into destruction by the Sirens. That Greek myth resonates because we can relate to that feeling. Even when we know we are heading toward something that could lead to our destruction, it can still seem awfully appealing.
That internal compass, sharpened by having positive peers around me and by studying my Bible, keeps me lashed to the mast.
Sound off: How do you summon courage when you are facing adversity?
Huddle Up Question
Huddle up with your kids and ask, “What do you think it means to show courage?”