Courage as catalyst of success
By Bayo Ogunmupe
The English writer and clergyman Sydney Smith asserted, “A great deal of talent is lost to the world for want of a little courage.” To discover and grow your talent you need courage. Before he joined the army, Winton Churchill had a desire to create a reputation for bravery. But he didn’t know whether he had the talent for it. In order to discover, he went to Cuba to test his courage in a controlled environment. He understood that a person doesn’t know what he is really made of until tested. If you fear the test, then you will never get the chance to develop your talent.
Our courage is tested when we respond to changes although inactivity is more comfortable. Being inactive, never leaving the familiar may mean that you are comfortable. But your willingness to continually let go of the familiar means that you are courageous. Greatness is due to bravery. It is courage in escaping from old ideas, old standards and respectable ways of doing things.
To become a champion you must be willing to give up all you have in order to become all you can be. If you are willing to leave your comfort zone and bravely keep striving, you can reach heights you thought were impossible. The opposite of courage isn’t cowardice. It is conformity. It isn’t enough to believe in something. You must live it. Learning and growing require action. Learning is a change in behaviour. You haven’t learned a thing until you can take action and use it. From knowledge comes an inner strength that subconsciously inspires you to push on in the face of stiff opposition.
No one makes the most of his talent in isolation. That means you must seek the cooperation of others in order to accomplish your aims. By taking the high road of treating other better than they treat you, you make yourself the kind of person others want to work with.
People admire leaders and innovators. Organizations give them honours, historians write books about them, sculptors chisel their images on the face of hills. However as many lift leaders up. Others want to knock them down. Thus, if you want to make success of a venture, you never wait for a crowd. You strike out for yourself. That takes nerves and grit, so you must have both. Success is the accomplishment of things which people think can’t be done.
Adversity is always the partner of progress. When you want to move forward, obstacles and problems get in your way. However, every obstacle you overcome teaches you about yourself. Success makes you wiser and stronger. Greatness is gained by facing difficulties with courage. If you desire to develop greater courage, then do the following. One, look for courage inside not outside of yourself. During the great Depression in America, the renowned inventor, Thomas Edison, delivered his last public message. In it he said. “Be courageous, I have lived a long time. I have seen history repeat itself again and again. I have seen many depressions in business. Always the nation has come out stronger and more prosperous. Be as brave as your fathers before you. Have faith, go forward.”
Edison knew that when we experience fear, we must be willing to move forward. Courage starts from the mind before it is displayed. Two, grow courage by doing the right thing, not the expedient. Florence Nightingale observed, “Courage is the virtue of those who choose to do the right thing over the expedient thing. It is the common currency of those who do what they are supposed to do in time of conflict, crisis and confusion.” Three, taking small steps of courage prepares you for greater ones.
Most of us want to grow quickly and be done with it. But the reality is that genuine growth is slow. Therefore, to be successful, we should start from small things and do them everyday. Your life changes when you change something you do everyday. Which is why you should recognize that being made a leader won’t give you courage but that courage can make you a leader. Former British Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher remarked, “Being a leader is a lot like being a lady. If you have to tell people you are one, you aren’t.” the position doesn’t make a leader. The leader makes the position. Leadership is an expression of courage that compels you to do the right at all times. Your life expands with each courageous act you espouse.
People who are willing to take risks, explore their limits, and are ready to experience defeat will go farther than those who timidly follow the safe path of living. The moment you resolve to sacrifice lesser ambitions to your one great aim, to stand alone, firm in your purpose, you set in motion the divine forces Jehovah has implanted in you for your greatness.
Thus, courageous leadership means you have developed convictions that are stronger than your fears. Your vision must be clearer than doubts. Your tenacity of purpose must be clearer than doubts. Your tenacity of purpose must stronger than popular opinion. Your dissatisfaction with existing realities must be more forceful than the status quo. Your risk taking must be stronger than safety seeking. Your desire to serve justice must be more robust than rationalization and your goal of realizing your potential must be more than seeing people appeased. Only courage can propel you to greatness. You must trade what you have for what’s best for your success.
Our champion today is Baroness Margaret Hilda Thatcher. Also known as, Baroness Margaret Thatcher of Kesteven. Born in October 1925 in Grantham, England as Margaret Roberts, she died in London in 2012. She was the British Conservative statesman and prime minister (1979-1990), Europe’s first woman prime minister. She was the first British premier in the 20th Century to win three consecutive terms and was the longest serving British premier since 1827.
Educated in Somerville College, Oxford, Thatcher’s marriage to a prosperous businessman enabled her to read for the bar, subsequently becoming a lawyer specializing in tax matters. She entered Parliament in 1959 becoming a Parliamentary Secretary in Pensions Ministry in 1961-64. She became Secretary of State for Education (1970-74). Thatcher succeeded Edward Health as Conservative leader in 1975. Her party’s victory in 1979 elevated her to the premiership. She belonged to the right wing of her party, advocating greater independence for the individual from the state. She called for an end to the excessive interference in the economy by the government. She reduced personal tax and the printing of money-known in economics as monetarism.
But unemployment trebbled with more than three million unemployed. Her term in office saw the growth of an underclass. Throughout her tenure, Thatcher pursued the policies that earned her the appellation of “Iron Lady.” She strictly dominated her ministers in pursuance of a strong monetary policy. She privatized state owned enterprises. A split in her party over her policies led to her resignation from the party leadership in 1990. She received the Order of Merit the same year and was made a baroness in 1992.