COURAGE ... The Most Beautiful Of All Human Expressions

“What’ve they got that I ain’t got?”, asked the Cowardly Lion.

“COURAGE!”, replied Dorothy, the Scarecrow, and the Tin Man.

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If you were to conduct a study of all “successful” people, you would find many differences. However, at their core they would all have one common characteristic … courage. This one element separates the successful from the unsuccessful, and the great from the average.

Hundreds of times in my personal development seminars, I have asked the question, “What do you want?” From New Zealand to New York, one of the most common responses is “I want to eliminate my fears.” Many hate the fear of rejection, criticism, abandonment or ridicule so much, they avoid circumstances where any of these fears could surface.

To these people, others who achieve success seem to routinely engage in activities they themselves avoid. They assume that successful people do not share their fears ... and thus conclude that by eliminating their fears, they too will be successful in their personal and professional lives. However …

Having fear is not the problem.
Getting rid of fear is not the solution.

The answer is to develop the courage to overcome fear-based self-limiting behaviors such as procrastination, work-a-holism, hysterics, over-planning, over-committing and denial. Change your focus from avoiding what you do not want, to creating what you do want.

For example, when someone tells me “I want to eliminate my fears,” I simply ask them “Why.” Regardless of their answer, I ask “why?” again and again, until they finally tell me the truth.

“I want the courage to overcome my fears.” They ultimately declare. “Because of my fear of rejection, I am going broke. I procrastinate, worry and waste time. Then I beat on myself for my failures. I need to break this cycle. I want peace.”

“Then the truth,” I tell them “is that you don’t want to eliminate your fears. What you want is the courage to overcome them. Isn’t it?”

They always answer, “Yes.”

“If you could do that,” I continue, “how would you feel as you fall asleep each night?”

“Peaceful,” is the usual reply.

The truth is we are all on quests for peace. Sometimes the quest is for “internal” peace associated with wellness and self-worth; sometimes the quest is for “interpersonal” peace created from having fulfilling personal and business relationships; and sometimes the quest is for an “international” peace which can only come from living in a safe and predictable world.

We are motivated to action in each of these three quests when threatened by negative circumstances. Perhaps we are threatened by getting something we don’t want, or by losing something we do want. It does not matter whether the threat is real or perceived; fear is what initiates the quest. Courage is the only solution.

Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather an act in the face of fear. Fear is the necessary ingredient. Without fear, no act is courageous … which is why courage is so beautiful. Courage is an inspirational victory over fear.

Basically, there are only two choices when faced with negative circumstances. The first choice is an automatic Fear-Based reaction. This occurs when we are either overwhelmed with or in denial of, fear. The alternative is to courageously choose Love-Based solutions in spite of fear, which frees us and inspires others. There is no better definition of leadership.

The single greatest reason people fail to succeed is the destruction of their personal power. Regardless of whether your personal power was destroyed as a child (leaving you with low self-worth) or by business and/or relationship failures as an adult (leaving you with low self-esteem). The only moment that matters is now.

Whenever you have a Fear-Based reaction to negativity, you give your personal power away. Until you stop giving your power away, you will always find a way to fail. The cure for this “disease” of negativity is to develop the courage to become a Love-Based leader.

You need to be more successful. But, the world needs you to become more important. The Fear-Based reactions to the greed of the unscrupulous executives of companies such as Enron, WorldCom, and Arthur Anderson have created an urgent need for Love-Based leaders in business. Love-Based leaders are needed in families where “justified” Fear-Based reactions are decimating marriages.

All acts of terrorism, and reactions to them, are Fear-Based. They have created an unprecedented need for global Love-Based leaders. Imagine a world where people implement Love-Based alternatives to Fear-Based reactions such as revenge, destruction and killing.

My advice is for you to develop the courage to do those things you fear … and keep doing them until you are no longer afraid. Then, you will become the master of your fate.

Won’t that be beautiful?

James Roswell Quinn
My Dream is of a world where ALL people treat themselves, ALL other people, and Earth with respect.

Author's Bio: 

James Roswell Quinn is an author, keynote speaker, success coach, and leadership trainer. He is a veteran of over 1,400 keynote addresses, personal growth workshops and Leadership Seminars in the USA, Canada, Dubai, Panama, Thailand, and New Zealand.

Having spoken before over 150,000 people, Quinn's Clients have included Walt Disney Feature Animation, Toronto Real Estate Board, Nightingale-Conant Corp, Boise Cascade, UALPA (United Air Lines Pilots Association), Video Law, the Auckland Multiple Listing Bureau and several Chicago-Area Banks.

In 2004, Quinn authored, CONTROLLING OTHERS FOR LOVE AND PROFIT; and in 2006, he recorded the 8-CD Personal Audio Seminar, GET OVER YOURSELF. Quinn's new book, SPEAKING OF SUCCESS is co-athored by Ken Blanchard (The One Minute Manager), Jack Canfield (Chicken Soup For The Soul), and Stephen Covey (The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People). It is scheduled for publication in July, 2007.

Quinn is a graduate of the University of Southern California. He and his wife, Christine, live with the youngest of their six children in Lake Summerset, Illinois.