Tammy S. Pinkerton
You would expect a tin man to need a heart, and a scarecrow a brain, but it’s surprising to learn that a lion wants courage. A lion is big and burly, and evokes fear in many. The lion in the Wizard of Oz, begins as a bully, but when Dorothy smacks him on the nose, his vulnerability appears.
“My what a big fuss your’e making.”” “When you go around picking on things weaker than you are.” “Why, you are nothing but a big coward”, says Dorothy. The lion responds crying, “Your’e right. I am a coward. I even scare myself”.
“Look at the circles under my eyes. I haven’t slept in weeks.” The tin man asks, why don’t you try counting sheep? “That wouldn’t do me any good, I am afraid of them”.
After the long journey along the yellow brick road, the lion is ready to tackle the demons, inside the castle, and accept courage from Oz, as if it is going to be packaged in a box.
Oz is a fraud, and the lion is looking outside for what is inside him the entire time.
All he had to do was keep moving forward, and moving through each obstacle along the yellow brick road. He faced evil witches, bats, and demons on the path. Many times he wanted to quit, but he didn’t turn around. He tackled each dangerous ordeal, until it had moved out of the way.
Dorothy, the scarecrow, and the tin man gave him support to keep moving toward his goal.
Throughout history, there have been many people identified as courageous. They found themselves in situations that tested their values, morals or principles and they persisted. It is lonely to be courageous. It is also scary.
Courage and fear walk together. You cannot be brave, unless you have some fear. When Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on the bus, she wasn’t seeking to be a hero, or to begin the civil rights fight. She was tired, and asked herself, why should I give up my seat, because of the color of my skin?
She wasn’t trying to be rebellious, or stubborn. She had the backbone to stand up for what she believed was right. Her values guided her forward.
While many might have agreed with Rosa Parks, most were too afraid to openly say that they did. It’s easier to be a sheep and follow the pack.
Courage Takes Nerves of Steel
The first of anything new, begins with swimming against the tide, and that can be dangerous to do. It takes backbone and grit to create change. It is far easier to give up on our values, and our dreams, and just go with the flow.
When every ounce of your being wants to move away from the danger, sometimes it takes nerves of steel to move forward. It is our value system that keeps us on track, and it is persistence and tenacity, that helps us achieve our goal.
Winston Churchill said courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen. Courage is both. Knowing when to move forward, and when to stand still, takes skill. Intuit is at the core, but heart and brains guide the tour.
Financial Social and Moral Courage
Any challenge has obstacles. We don’t know what we don’t know.
It is frightening to move forward when we are operating with missing pieces.
Being courageous is isolating. We are moving against the grain. There are lots of naysayers, “Forget it, just go with the crowd, this can’t change”.
You, Steve Jobs a little guy who made a computer in your garage are going to compete with IBM. Get real. Can’t be done.
You, Winston Churchill are going to warn about the onset of Fascism, and protect England. Pick a political party and stick with it. Forget this foolish nonsense.
You Rosa Parks, are a black women who won’t give up your seat on a bus. Who do you think you are?
They were people who had the courage to move forward against the grain, and each of them changed history because they did.
There is financial courage, moral courage, social courage.
Steve Jobs and Walt Disney took great financial risks to see their dreams materialize. They had financial courage.
Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela spoke out against injustice. They had social courage.
Winston Churchill warned against fascism. He had moral courage.
The next time you find something standing in the way of what you want or believe, or something challenging your values, be willing to stand up, and say
“No, this has to change.”
Keep moving forward, with a. willingness to face each obstacle standing in your way, and you will find nerve that you never knew you had. Courage is within each of us, it just takes extra muscles to find it.