Courage is a trait often spoken of, and perhaps as commonly misunderstood. Courage, or the lack thereof, may or may not expose one to physical harm, but its absence will almost certainly expose one to psychological harm.
John Wayne once famously remarked that, “Courage is being scared to death and saddling up anyway.” Some might debate the Duke’s courage off-screen (there’s no denying that he embodied it in spades on celluloid), but that little nugget does certainly encapsulate physical courage. Yet this is but one expression of the term.
It is acknowledged by the Zentropist that one must develop, “The courage, both intellectual and physical, to seize the initiative, to act in a moral and ethical manner, to inspire others, to exercise good judgment and to endure whatever is necessary to prevail.”
Far too often, we lack the courage of our convictions, and find ourselves shirking from a course of action because we perceive it to be unpopular or possibly exposing us to undue ridicule, risk or danger. The true Zentropist cannot abide such shortcomings, at least for long, and will find the inner strength necessary to rise to the occasion. In doing so, guided by a moral compass that is not swayed by the court of public opinion or the self-serving lodestones of greed and selfishness that warp the navigation of some, the Zentropist will serve as an inspiration to those who understand the value of the path taken.
Ernest Hemingway had a great deal of courage, yet ultimately, this was perhaps his undoing, for courage without good judgment becomes needless sacrifice, and this is to be avoided whenever possible. Still, it is instrumental to look at the foreshadowing of his ultimate fate in a passage he famously composed in the classic, A Farewell to Arms:
“If people bring so much courage to this world the world has to kill them to break them, so of course it kills them. The world breaks every one and afterward many are strong at the broken places. But those that it will not break it kills. It kills the very good and the very gentle and the very brave impartially. If you are none of these you can be sure it will kill you too but there will be no special hurry.”
The Zentropist seeks to bend rather than break, but understands that sometimes we must be broken to rebuild ourselves more strongly. In the practice of working on behalf of others, the Zentropist must always have the courage to do right by one’s charges, to find the solutions to the best of one’s abilities, and to produce results which deliver tangible and hopefully long-lasting value.
I’ll leave you with some final words from Mark Twain, one of my favorite authors, who said, “Always do right — this will gratify some and astonish the rest.”
So get out there and astonish the masses…