Can a man still be brave if he’s afraid?
For the past couple of weeks, Rebecca and I have been re-watching each episode of the Game of Thrones TV series. Early on in the show one of the characters, Bran, asks his father:
- Can a man still be brave if he’s afraid?
His father’s reply?
- That is the only time a man can be brave.
Isn’t that the truth?
I have to imagine that virtually every soldier who has gone in to battle, unless he/she is completely out there, has felt some fear. They may not have shown it, but it still existed. And isn’t that the real definition of bravery, that in spite of their fears, they still did what needed to be done?
Not to draw a comparison with what I wrote in the paragraph above, I’m going to go on record to say that while sailing, there are countless times when I have found myself (at least) a bit afraid. Times when, due to weather or circumstances, I have found myself outside of my comfort zone. Note that we haven’t let those less-than-positive experiences keep us dock bound.
The quote below, reproduced and shared on a hundred different memes, strikes a chord with me.
“I’m not afraid of storms, for I’m learning how to sail my ship.”
While I haven’t read the book Little Women, the source of the above quote, I’m quite certain that the character is speaking metaphorically. I hope so, at least, Mother Nature’s storms should scare you! Assuming the author was speaking about life’s challenges, about not avoiding them and/or being able to deal with them, I get that. I really do. In some ways related, Rebecca and I both often look for opportunities that will help us to expand our comfort zone.
For example, I am not really a fan of heights. Because of an awareness of that fear, and hopes of getting over it, I took up rock climbing. Did it work? Am I no longer afraid of heights? Actually, I’d say that I still am. I will go up the mast to make a repair though, or sometimes, simply to take a nice photo. Surprisingly, I’ve come to enjoy the adrenaline that comes from climbing!
What’s the point of this post? I don’t really have one, except to suggest that you shouldn’t be afraid of expanding your comfort zone. In fact, you should seek out opportunities for doing so. Being uncomfortable, and sometimes even afraid, is OK. As the image below shows, that’s where the magic happens.
If you’re interested in reading more about my thoughts on the value of confidence, and on developing it, check out this post from 2010.