How To Live With Courage

how to live with courage

On my wall hangs a famous John Wayne quote, which fits well with the first principle of the Cowboy Code.

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

The phrasing of this quote has been altered in some tellings, but its core always remains the same. Living with courage is going forward, in spite of fear.

In the Old West, each day brought challenges that tested the spirits of the pioneer and cowboy: flooding, stampedes, Indian war bands, etc. Waking up in the morning, you couldn’t be certain if you’d be living to see the day’s end. With that outlook, they developed a courage to be envied. Regardless of what danger they were confronted with, they stared at it with resolution, determined to do their best.

The fears we face usually take different forms than that of the Old West, but fear are still there to be conquered. It may be as trivial as asking a woman for a date, as dangerous as pulling someone out of a burning building, or as simple as just doing the right thing.

How To Live with Courage:

  1. Quantify your fears – We are often prone to blowing our fears out of proportion, making them larger than reality and shrinking our courage in the process. Look past the illusions and see your fears for what they are, making them easier to face and defeat.
  2. Be bold – Audacity brings its own fortune. A bold front is likely to make you feel more confident and lead others to the same conclusion.
  3. Get back in the saddle – Failure, mistakes, and errors are all a natural part of life. No matter how well thought the plan or deed, randomness will be present. When you make a mistake roll with it. Get back up and keep riding.

This maxim of the code is not merely a saying. It is an attitude. When you get up in the morning, it’s a mindset to arm yourself with. Strap on your six-shooter and prepare your mind to face whatever befalls. Louis L’Amour once said,

Adventure is just a romantic name for trouble. It sounds swell when you write about it, but it’s hell when you meet it face to face in a dark and lonely place.

Many people crave adventure in their lives, but don’t see adventure is actually in the difficulties, in the bad moments. If you face those moments with courage, whatever the outcome, you cannot truly fail.


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