Discovering the Courage Within
Christopher Columbus needed courage. So did Lance Armstrong when he defeated cancer and captured the Tour de France in 1999. History is littered with courageous acts and courageous people. You do not have to be a world-class explorer or professional cyclist to have courage. Everybody needs it, but how do you get it, especially when you are like the lion before he discovered the Wizard of Oz?As the lion had to learn, courage exists inside of you. You just have to dredge it up after years of burying it behind your safety zones.
The Inborn Courage in YouEveryone was born with courage. You may not remember learning how to walk, but you know you fell hundreds of times before you stood on your own. Learning to walk took courage. And you succeeded because you had little fear or doubt. Eventually, that changed. Parents and other caregivers told you to be careful, to avoid dangers. Society, after all, values comfort over fulfillment. "We've been exposed to a barrage of messages that discourage us from being courageous," says Harold Bloomfield, MD, a Yale-trained psychiatrist and author of Making Peace With Your Past.
Your Adversity QuotientAs you grew up, you patterned your response to adversity on how people around you responded to difficulty. Paul G. Stoltz, PhD, president/CEO of Peak Learning International and author of Adversity Quotient, defines this reaction as the adversity quotient (AQ). As a baby, your AQ is untested. By the time you are 12, thanks to your environment and situations you have faced, you have developed your AQ. "The higher your AQ," Stoltz says, "the better you're able to summon courage and tap your greatness in times of need."Fortunately, your AQ can be strengthened.