“The secret of happiness is freedom, and
the secret of freedom is courage.”
“Individual courage is the only
interesting thing in life.”
“There are only two mistakes one can make along
the road to truth: not going all the way, and not starting.”
“We must let go of the life we’ve planned
so as to have the life that is waiting for us.”
grace under pressure.”
“Courage is the first of human virtues
because it makes all others possible.”
“Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak;
courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.”
“Courage is being scared to death
and saddling up anyway.”
“Let us go forth with fear and courage and rage
to save the world.”
“With enough courage,
you can do without a reputation.”
“I’ve been through it all, baby.
I’m Mother Courage.”
“Courage is fear
that has said its prayers.”
-Karle Wilson Baker
“A ship in harbor is safe,
but that is not what ships are built for.”
“The most courageous act is
still to think for yourself. Aloud.”
“The opposite of courage is not cowardice. It is
conformity. Even a dead fish can go with the flow.”
“We need the courage to learn
from our past and not live in it.”
“Courage is going from failure to failure
without losing enthusiasm.”
It takes courage to live a human life. We all have varying degrees of courage. For some, it is buried deep in hearts and psyches; for others, it is a bright light that guides every step. But, for all of us, finding courage can be a choice we make every day – often in the quietest of ways. There is great courage in living life to the fullest, living with authenticity and a sense of alignment with one’s most deeply held values. And sometimes, simply getting up every day and putting one foot in front of the other is an act of immense courage.
Inspiring Courage is a collection of some of the most powerful inspirations I have encountered about what it means to live a courageous life. Here you will find one hundred and thirty of my favorite quotations from some of the world’s greatest thinkers, looking at courage through many distinctive lenses – wise, funny, spiritual, philosophical, historical, artistic, religious, eccentric.
Poets are perennially drawn to the subject of courage because it touches us at our deepest core, speaking to the very essence of what it means to be alive. For this reason, limiting this book to only thirty extraordinary poems with courage as their central theme was one of the toughest challenges I faced. The poetry you find here provides an exploration of how courage can illuminate our lives and change everything it touches.
I also offer thirteen stories of individuals whose courage defines them and inspires us, each in very different ways. Their stories shed light on more surprising faces of courage, the courage of everyday lives. No one profiled here is world famous. None has won the Nobel Prize or become a household name. Yet all show us that what can seem quite ordinary is often extraordinary courage.
My hope is that this book will allow you to tap into the fire of your own inner courage and feel its transformative power to light your way.
“Touches the heart and fills you with spirit.”
Jack Kornfield, author of A Path With Heart
“Inspiring Courage is an inspiration.”
Sharon Salzberg, author of Lovingkindness and Real Happiness
“Inspiring Courage is food for the heart longing to live fully and exuberantly!”
Stephen Cope, Author of The Great Work of Your Life: A Guide for the Journey to Your True Calling