Confidence and Courage

My favourite movie of all-time is How To Train Your Dragon, and so I’ve been watching the spin-off TV series, Riders of Berk, in the gap between the first and second movies. My favourite part is Hiccup’s narration at the beginning and end of each episode, and I liked today’s so much, I thought I’d blog about it. It started like this:

“Courage is a funny thing. Many are born with it. For some, it’s a never-ending struggle. And for others, well, they just don’t know enough to be afraid.”

Heroes are meant to be courageous. That’s how they stand up to the villains, overcome all obstacles in their paths, and eventually save the day. If they were too overwhelmed by fear and doubt, they’d likely get themselves killed and be no use to the adventure. Courage is a vital part of a hero, but it’s not always an easy thing to have.

  • Born With It: some heroes are born with a natural courage. They don’t need special training, they just step into their adventuring shoes and walk confidently down their prescribed paths. Others admire them for this seemingly super-human confidence, but the heroes probably don’t even notice that they’re being “courageous”. To them, it’s instinctive, and they’re just doing what they know how to do. These heroes don’t run away from danger, and they epitomize what it is to be heroic.
  • Never-Ending Struggle: many heroes fit into this category. For a new adventurer, all of the dangers that occur within a quest can be intimidating, overwhelming, and downright terrifying, and it’s hard to be courageous. They often have to fight past fear and uncertainty, sometimes freezing in the pressure of combat or even fleeing from a spot of trouble. They’re seen with shaky hands, weak knees, and prayers on their lips, but they’re made all the more heroic when they are able to overcome their own fearful nature and stand up to danger with pure courage in their hearts.
  • Just Don’t Know Enough: heroes of this type are sometimes called naive, brainless, or just thick-of-skull, but this doesn’t always have to be the case. Some heroes simply don’t consider what might happen in the worst-case scenario. They don’t pay attention to the danger or the consequences of failure. Not knowing enough to be afraid is a type of innocence–maybe innocence due to lack of experience, or maybe just innocence due to positive thinking.

The first type of courage, innate and second-nature, is by far the hardest type to have. It’s very difficult to be courageous in everything you face, without once doubting yourself or worrying about what might happen if you do something wrong. Most of the time, it has to be a part of your personality for you to have this type of courage, but it can be learned too. If you can teach yourself to be confident in everything you do, then you might as well have been born with courage already in your heart.

The second type is probably the most common for the average person. Some days, you’re confident; other days, not so much. It’s hard to go into a math test believing that you know all the answers, or a job interview feeling certain that you’ll get the job, but yet you can still have courage. You can face these things even with all your fears in tow, because there’s a part of you that’s made up solely of the courage that drives you on. This is the category I fit into, and I am constantly pushing myself towards courage, acknowledging my fears and fighting past them, so that I may live a more confident life.

The last type of courage is the kind that kids have. I don’t think it’s any secret that kids are a lot braver than most teens and adults, and that’s often because they don’t waste time thinking about what might go wrong. They’re too caught up in having the best, funnest adventure they can possibly have. Yes, kids get hurt a lot, but they also tend to tell more imaginative stories, laugh more, and generally enjoy more of their daily lives than the rest of us. Having this type of courage isn’t about ignoring the dangers or consequences of an action, but about choosing not to worry about things that may or may not happen.

Courage, no matter which type, is an empowering tool that makes heroes the remarkable people they are, and allows us all to live more freely and happily. It can be used to overcome obstacles, slay worries and fears, and enable us to get the most out of life. Courage is a beautiful thing, and well worth striving for. And so, to conclude with more of Hiccup’s words:

“Having courage isn’t the same as having no fear. It’s being afraid and pushing forward anyway. Whether that means saving a baby dragon, protecting those you love, or giving a special someone the butt-kicking they so richly deserve.”

***

What type of courage do you have? Which courage would you like to have, and what would you do with it?

May your courage always be stronger than your fear, so that you may live life’s fullest potential.

-Alex

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