What is Courage?

I was touched by the solidarity shown by the thousands of women and men who took part in the march this weekend, who stood in solidarity with a shared purpose.  I began to think about ‘courage’ and what it means to be a courageous academic.  Questions, such as:

  1. Was I courageous when I decided to go into higher education?
  2. Are academics courageous?
  3. Is there such a person, as a courageous academic?

The late Maya Angelou’s quote came to mind, ‘Courage is the most important of all the virtues, because without courage you can’t practice any other virtue consistently. You can practice any virtue erratically, but nothing consistently without courage.”’ Why? Because it emphasises the importance of courage, the most important virtue, or as Aristotle put it, the first virtue.

I began to answer my questions.  Yes, courage can be associated with higher education since courage overcomes the fear of failure and the anxiety associated with academia.  Indeed, the decision to go into higher education takes courage.  Continuing to study through the distractions, difficulties and trials that occur, takes courage, because courage is what leads us forward.

I then began to think a little deeper about courage and the role it played in my PhD journey.  I was listening to a song by Casting Crowns, entitled Courageous these lyrics resonated with me.

In the war of the mind.

I will make my stand.

In the battle of the heart.

And the battle of hand.

When we make a decision to study, we experience an array of feelings – the battle of the heart.  We have different thoughts, I relate this to a war in the mind.  Some of us overcome this fight and take a stand and others become casualties of the war in the heart and mind.  Examples of types of casualties include:





To avoid the causality you need courage, which develops confidence and drive to achieve academic success, ultimately leading to happiness.

Please share your comments and thoughts.

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