We took an opportunity this week to reconnect boys at the Senior Campus with their wellbeing theme of courage and determination, which we introduced earlier in the term and asked them to reinforce by working to set and break some habits in their mentor groups.
These concepts seem like powerful ones ascribed to only the most heroic among us, and yet really they are qualities we show every day in various ways. Just look at the many areas in life which require us to use courage and determination:
In The Classroom
Don’t show up to prove, show up to improve – Simon Sinek
We show courage and determination in every class which asks us to face a challenge. Some subjects tap into our natural strengths more, as do some areas of study. But the Simon Sinek quote above helps us remember that the aim of schooling is to learn – which requires us to have courage to fail, courage to ask for help and the determination to work hard to achieve our goals.
Being really open to feedback sometimes takes courage and determination – as does caring about getting better. Accepting you need to work harder, smarter or differently to achieve a goal is tough to hear – but the toughest of us will accept that because we want to improve and we want to learn.
This is just as true for the workplace as it is in schools. We rarely stop learning or being challenged and stretched in this life – and I’m so glad we don’t.
On The Sporting Field
Much like the classroom, the sporting field (or chess board, golf course, swimming pool etc) is the scene of both victories and defeats. There is a chance we will lose by many points, or will feel humiliated or will even be injured. Never underestimate the courage it takes to simply be what Teddy Roosevelt referred to as the “man in the arena”, who steps out onto the field to test his/her strengths and skills.
Again, professional sportsmen and the truly competitive show determination to improve their skills and the courage to work hard and go beyond physical and mental boundaries.
They are willing to make sacrifices – sometimes in terms of leisure time, or diet, or pain in the gym or hours of study of plays to improve their performance.
In Artistic Endeavours
All artists – whether musicians, singers, actors, inventors, visual artists, dancers or craftsmen bring a little bit of themselves to every piece they create. And each time we express ourselves artistically it is an act of courage – as people may reject or misunderstand what we have tried to communicate. Art is often in very public spaces – and people feel very comfortable criticizing art Fa. They fail to understand and acknowledge at times the skill people show that has taken years to build, and the uniqueness of each individual perspective.
Practicing any craft – like learning – takes time and while we take on new challenges to improve our craft, we may not be successful the first time. We may love something that is commercially unsuccessful. It takes courage always and everyday to put yourself out there to be judged by others.
In Social Situations
Meeting new people takes courage and confidence. Every new situation is potentially stressful as we don’t know how people will react to us. And life of full of opportunities that require us to mix with strangers – consider starting school or university, a new job, a new class or hobby… and no doubt more. To get the most out of these new experiences, we may even have to show determination to go beyond our shyness or social barriers to introduce ourselves to people in order to lay the first few bricks in the foundation of a friendship.
Even amidst people we know it might take courage to be ourselves. There exists a subtle pressure to go with the crowd – and it takes courage to:
So it is easy to see that courage and determination are qualities we draw upon regularly – and therefore we should feel confident in our capacity to draw upon them when needed.
Want to ponder this further? Why not look at this 7 Minute Meditation on Overcoming Fear with Courage.
Photo by Julia M Cameron from Pexels