Being courageous isn’t always about slaying the dragon

I’ve had the idea for this blog post for weeks now, months even, and every time I’ve gone to write it… Nope. Nothing. Nada. Worries that it’ll all be wrong and one huge mistake take over and I cannot get my fingers to type. Because that’s the issue isn’t it? Doubt creeps in and before you know it you feel like you’re standing on the edge of a cliff, uncertainty stretching out beneath you. So to save yourself from that view you tell yourself to avoid the thing entirely – because you’d rather not do it at all then do it wrong.

We so often see bravery and courage as running back into the burning building or slaying the dragon in that tense moment when our vision has gone blurry because of that vicious bite wound that means we’re so nearly dead because everything, everything, is just against us… but then from somewhere we find the strength to swing the sword as the dragon lunges, teeth gnashing, and slay it. Dead.

But that’s not what courage is. Not all the time anyway. Sometimes, bravery isn’t always about beating ridiculous odds, and overcoming some winged beast – sometimes it’s about recognising your fears, your worries, and doing it any way. Doing it, not to be reckless or to be stupid, but because you realise that doing it, is better that not doing it.

Bravery is sometimes just taking that initial step to do the thing, whatever it might be. To do it, to throw yourself into it – even if you end up floundering and feeling a little lost at sea.

20 seconds of courage is all you need.

In that time or initial try, you’ll either realise that this is all worth it (gnashing teeth and all) or you’ll realise that your doubts were right and you should get out of there, pronto. That’s what brings me here, tonight… I have wanted to create a blog for a long time now. Heck, I made TYPE | WRITE | READ months ago and it’s only today that I’m publishing my first post. Why is it so late? Honestly… because I was worried that this was all one stupid risk and something I would fail at. And what’s the worst thing about failure? Humiliation. And what’s worst than humiliation? Humiliation on a public scale… like a blog. So today I told myself (yes, I actually said it out loud) that 20 seconds was all I needed and I actually started to type. It would be a lie to say that I have managed to write this post in just 20 seconds, but it’s in that 20 seconds that I realised that this is a risk I’m willing to take. One I want to take.

As put best in Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon (great book, review coming soon!):

Everything’s a risk. Not doing anything is a risk. It’s up to you.

I guess what i’m trying to say is that being brave and having courage are not about finding the strength against all odds, but about realising that in everything there are risks and working out which risk you are willing to gamble on. Right now, I’m gambling on the risk that is TYPE | WRITE | READ. Wish me luck?

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