The Definition of Courage

A face-off with fear.

The Thrive Global Community welcomes voices from many spheres on our open platform. We publish pieces as written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Community stories are not commissioned by our editorial team and must meet our guidelines prior to being published.

Do the thing you fear, and the death of that fear is certain.

A quick Google search reveals this saying comes from either Mark Twain or Ralph Waldo Emerson, depending on which link you believe.

But I’ll always attribute it to my dad, as it’s one of the main pieces of wisdom he’s leaned on whenever I’m in need of fatherly guidance.

And while I’ve done my best to follow the first half of that proverb, I’ve rarely reaped the benefits of its second half.

Things haven’t gotten easier. Challenges feel just as challenging. My fears seldom meet their demise.

I think about when I was taking improv comedy classes, a task that was a galaxy beyond my comfort zone.

I’m thankful I found the nerve to sign up. And I’m proud I had the determination to show up.

But doing so never became less daunting.

I remember sitting in my car, staring at the theater before my last class, and feeling just as nervous as I’d been before my first. Upon realizing this, I couldn’t help laughing a laugh of both amazement and defeat.

I’d been doing this exact thing every Monday for a year; why was it still so difficult?

Sometimes I wonder if this is just who I am, if I’m hardwired for fear.

Other times I wonder if I have more say in the matter, if I try hard enough and show up enough, I have the ability to make things more manageable. Eventually.

If I had to guess, the truth lies somewhere in the middle — a little nature, a little nurture.

Regardless, experience tells me that life is in the living — in trying, in taking risks, in stepping out on stage when you have no idea what to say.

Which is why when I’m faced with uncertainty and self-doubt, I do my best to lean on another of my father’s proverbs, one he apparently borrowed from the great John Wayne:

Courage is being scared to death, and saddling up anyway.

Take Action

If you’re ready to become a better communicator, decision-maker and risk-taker while also boosting your overall happiness, check out my video, “5 Strategies That Will Make You Unstoppable.”

Click here right now to get the video!

And visit for more!


This originally appeared on

Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

You might also like...


Fear Is a Liar: Or How $64K in Credit-Card Debt Changed My Life for the Better

by Amanda Arthur Krill
Why Fear Is Essential For Your Personal and Professional Growth

Why Fear Is Essential For Your Personal and Professional Growth

by Lucy Kate McGregor

Comfort Lies in Mediocrity: Overcoming the Fear of Success

by April Seifert
We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.