Analysis: ISAAC MACHISA
I PERSONALLY believe that fear is a natural part in the life of every person. You may experience fear when going for a job interview or on your first date, or you may fear loss of something or someone.
The Bible records so many verses that talk about fear. For example, Abraham was so afraid that he lied to Abimelech that Sarah was his sister and not his wife. But much of the fear most people face is a different kind of fear. It is the fear that keeps you in your comfort zone – the fear of the unknown, failure or of not being good enough.
You can never attain success if you are afraid of it. Success requires courage. Webster’s Dictionary defines courage as the ability to withstand fear, humiliation, discomfort or meet danger and difficulties with firmness. Confronting danger, uncertainty, or intimidation is a choice. You cannot act courageously in any situation unless you have something to protect, something to honour, something to prove, or something to commit to.
That is why I believe a hero and a coward have fear in common. What sets the brave apart from the cowards is what the brave do with fear. Fear can either hold you back or be your greatest motivator. It has motivated our greatest inventions and most creative endeavours.
When you look at successful businesses, you will see a common trait: someone once made a courageous decision to start. It takes courage to go for what you want, to do something or to get where you want to be in life.
It took courage for the shepherd boy in the Bible to take on Goliath. It took courage for Nelson Mandela to dismantle the legacy of apartheid in South Africa. And it took courage for Dr Kenneth Kaunda to fight for Zambia’s independence from British rule and unite the 72 plus tribal and ethnic groups into the strong single entity that Zambia is today. It also took courage for me to propose to my wife.
Nelson Mandela’s most famous quote about courage is: “I learned that courage is not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”
It is important to be brave in life because:
1. Courage inspires you to take action.
How many times have you talked about your brilliant ideas with your friends and family or maybe someone has even confirmed to you that you have, let’s say, a great idea. Most times nothing is done about it.
Winston Churchill once said courage is what it takes to stand up and speak. Think of Nelson Mandela or perhaps your favourite politician, football player or business mind. Not one of them became who they are without courage.
In agreement with Churchill’s statement, Maya Angelou says the most important single thing beyond discipline and creativity is daring to dare. This means you must be brave enough to do things that scare you – like launching a new venture, start a new business, go where no one has gone before or reaching out towards your dreams.
So you need the courage to move out of your comfort zone even though you know you will experience many temporary failures along the way. Once you begin your entrepreneurial journey, you also need the courage to persist in the face of all adversity, as Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “All great successes are the triumph of persistence.”
When you develop these twin qualities your success is guaranteed.
2. Courage brings needed change.
Change is an inevitable part of life. It happens whether you are ready or not. But it is also good sometimes to initiate life changes yourself. There are certain things that require you to make up your mind for them to change. Things like your job, your weight, or where you stay.
The first step in making significant changes in your life are to determine what changes you want to make and decide exactly what it is that you want to change.
As history has shown, only those individuals who made a choice to step forward and take some risks made history. Martin Luther King in America, Mahatma Gandhi in India, Nelson Mandela in South Africa are great examples of people with courage who brought about needed changes.
A Bangladeshi social entrepreneur and banker Muhammed Yunus was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006 for founding the Grameen Bank and pioneering the concepts of microcredit and micro finance. Before his retirement, Yunus helped thousands of people in poverty to access loans without collateral. He later on founded Grameen Bank, which empowered others to build businesses. Replicas of the Grameen Bank model operate in more than 100 countries worldwide according to his biography.
I can safely say Mohammed Ali, the greatest boxer of all time, was right to say only he who is courageous enough to take risks will accomplish much in life.
The author is a pastor, motivational speaker and mentor.