“I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It’s when you know you’re licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what.”
―Atticus Finch/Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird
Here’s one thing I realized as I grew older:
Courage is simple.
What I mean is, it’s not something only superheroes have, not something you only get in momentous life-or-death situations—courage doesn’t always look grand.
Sure, it’s in these heart-stopping moments that courage shows its life-changing powers.
But courage can also be quiet—it’s something we draw strength from during our little everyday battles.
It’s getting out of bed in the mornings your anxiety overpowers you. It’s letting go of the toxic relationship you’re trapped in for so long. It’s showing up in this oftentimes unkind world we live in.
I believe that real, raw courage is the simple, everyday, quiet, unreserved strength to keep moving despite the smallest and biggest fears we have.
In this article, I’ve gathered 100 quotes on courage, what it really means, and the role it plays in a healthy and happy life.
What courage truly means
“There are so many ways to be brave in this world. Sometimes bravery involves laying down your life for something bigger than yourself, or for someone else. Sometimes it involves giving up everything you have ever known, or everyone you have ever loved, for the sake of something greater.
But sometimes it doesn’t.
Sometimes it is nothing more than gritting your teeth through pain, and the work of every day, the slow walk toward a better life.
That is the sort of bravery I must have now.”
― Veronica Roth, Allegiant
“Courage is knowing what not to fear.”
“I learned that courage was 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.”
“Courage isn’t having the strength to go on – it is going on when you don’t have strength.”
“Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says I’ll try again tomorrow.”
― Mary Anne Radmacher
“It is not the strength of the body that counts, but the strength of the spirit.”
“Courage is being scared to death, but saddling up anyway.”
― John Wayne
“You have plenty of courage, I am sure,” answered Oz. “All you need is confidence in yourself. There is no living thing that is not afraid when it faces danger. The true courage is in facing danger when you are afraid, and that kind of courage you have in plenty.”
― L. Frank Baum, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
“Courage doesn’t happen when you have all the answers. It happens when you are ready to face the questions you have been avoiding your whole life.”― Shannon L. Alder
“Everyone thinks that courage is about facing death without flinching. But almost anyone can do that. Almost anyone can hold their breath and not scream for as long as it takes to die.
True courage is about facing life without flinching. I don’t mean the times when the right path is hard, but glorious at the end. I’m talking about enduring the boredom, the messiness, and the inconvenience of doing what is right.”
― Robin Hobb
“Real courage is doing the right thing when nobody’s looking. Doing the unpopular thing because it’s what you believe, and the heck with everybody.”
― Justin Cronin
“Courage to me is doing something daring, no matter how afraid, insecure, intimidated, alone, unworthy, incapable, ridiculed or whatever other paralyzing emotion you might feel. Courage is taking action….no matter what. So you’re afraid? Be afraid. Be scared silly to the point you’re trembling and nauseous, but do it anyway!”
― Richelle E. Goodrich
“Courage is about learning how to function despite the fear, to put aside your instincts to run or give in completely to the anger born from fear. Courage is about using your brain and your heart when every cell of your body is screaming at your to fight or flee – and then following through on what you believe is the right thing to do.”
― Jim Butcher
“Pride is holding your head up when everyone around you has theirs bowed. Courage is what makes you do it.”
“Courage cannot be left like bones in a bag. It must be brought out and shown the light again and again, growing stronger each time. If you think it will keep for the times you need it, you are wrong. It is like any other part of your strength. If you ignore it, the bag will be empty when you need it most.”
― Conn Iggulden
“Courage is the complement of fear. A man who is fearless cannot be courageous. [He is also a fool.”
― Robert A. Heinlein
“Courage is being the only only one who knows how terrified you are.”
On courage as a virtue
“The two hardest tests on the spiritual road are the patience to wait for the right moment and the courage not to be disappointed with what we encounter.”
― Paulo Coelho, Veronika Decides to Die
“Whatever you do, you need courage. Whatever course you decide upon, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong. There are always difficulties arising that tempt you to believe your critics are right. To map out a course of action and follow it to an end requires some of the same courage that a soldier needs. Peace has its victories, but it takes brave men and women to win them.”
“Because no matter what they say, you always have a choice. You just don’t always have the guts to make it.”
― Ray N. Kuili
“Have courage for the great sorrows of life and patience for the small ones; and when you have laboriously accomplished your daily task, go to sleep in peace. God is awake.”
― Victor Hugo
“Keep in mind that many people have died for their beliefs; it’s actually quite common. The real courage is in living and suffering for what you believe.”
― Christopher Paolini, Eragon
“Courage is not simply one of the virtues but the form of every virtue at the testing point, which means at the point of highest reality. ”
― C.S. Lewis
“We have to be braver than we think we can be, because God is constantly calling us to be more than we are.”
― Madeleine L’Engle
“Courage is the first of human qualities because it is the quality which guarantees the others.”
On standing up for yourself
“The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud.”
“Everyone has talent. What’s rare is the courage to follow it to the dark places where it leads.”
“There is a stubbornness about me that never can bear to be frightened at the will of others. My courage always rises at every attempt to intimidate me.”
“It’s your life; you don’t need someone’s permission to live the life you want. Be brave to live from your heart.”
― Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart
“He who is brave is free”
“You will have to make up for the smallness of your size by your courage and selfless devotion to duty, for it is not life that matters, but the courage, fortitude and determination you bring to it.”
― Muhammad Ali Jinnah
“The only tyrant I accept in this world is the ‘still small voice’ within me. And even though I have to face the prospect of being a minority of one, I humbly believe I have the courage to be in such a hopeless minority.”
― Mahatma Gandhi
“You need to have faith in yourself. Be brave and take risks. You don’t have to have it all figured out to move forward.”
On the importance of courage for a well-lived life
“Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim.
“He who jumps into the void owes no explanation to those who stand and watch.”
― Jean-Luc Godard
“Have the courage to say no. Have the courage to face the truth. Do the right thing because it is right. These are the magic keys to living your life with integrity.”
― W. Clement Stone
“For what it’s worth: it’s never too late or, in my case, too early to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit, stop whenever you want. You can change or stay the same, there are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. And I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find that you’re not, I hope you have the courage to start all over again.”
― Eric Roth, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button Screenplay
“You can’t be brave if you’ve only had wonderful things happen to you.”
“Courage is the most important of all the virtues because without courage, you can’t practice any other virtue consistently.”
“Confront the dark parts of yourself, and work to banish them with illumination and forgiveness. Your willingness to wrestle with your demons will cause your angels to sing.”
“Don’t be satisfied with stories, how things have gone with others. Unfold your own myth.”
― Rumi, The Essential Rumi
“Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.”
“No matter how long you train someone to be brave, you never know if they are or not until something real happens.”
― Veronica Roth, Insurgent
“A man with outward courage dares to die; a man with inner courage dares to live.”
― Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching
“Life is not about living the safer option. Life is about living a life worth living.”
― Robert Thier
“Great occasions do not make heroes or cowards; they simply unveil them to the eyes of men. Silently and perceptibly, as we wake or sleep, we grow strong or weak; and last some crisis shows what we have become. ”
― Brooke Foss Westcott
“Courage is the price that life exacts for granting peace.”
― Amelia Earhart
Having the courage to take action in the face of adversity
“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”
― Winston Churchill
“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.”
― Eleanor Roosevelt
“Take chances, make mistakes. That’s how you grow. Pain nourishes your courage. You have to fail in order to practice being brave.”
― Mary Tyler Moore
“We don’t develop courage by being happy every day. We develop it by surviving difficult times and challenging adversity.”
― Barbara De Angelis
“Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.”
― Dale Carnegie
“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.”
“Have enough courage to trust love one more time and always one more time.”
“Courage is like love, it must have hope for nourishment.”
― Napoleon Bonaparte
Vulnerability is courage, not a weakness
“Some people believe holding on and hanging in there are signs of great strength. However, there are times when it takes much more strength to know when to let go and then do it.”
― Ann Landers
“To share your weakness is to make yourself vulnerable; to make yourself vulnerable is to show your strength.”
“Courage starts with showing up and letting ourselves be seen.”
― Brené Brown
“Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren’t always comfortable, but they’re never weakness.”
― Brené Brown
“You can have regret from yesterday, fear tomorrow, but peace today by sharing your heart’s deepest feelings. A life spent being fearful of showing your soul is a life not worth living.”
― Shannon Alder
On bravery in the face of self-reflection
“The most fundamental aggression to ourselves, the most fundamental harm we can do to ourselves, is to remain ignorant by not having the courage and the respect to look at ourselves honestly and gently.”
― Pema Chödrön,
“It takes courage…to endure the sharp pains of self discovery rather than choose to take the dull pain of unconsciousness that would last the rest of our lives.”
― Marianne Williamson
“An unbelieved truth can hurt a man much more than a lie. It takes great courage to back truth unacceptable to our times. There’s a punishment for it, and it’s usually crucifixion.”
― John Steinbeck
“Courage is the hallmark of spirituality. Courage comes when you love yourself for who you are.”
― Amit Ray
On taking responsibility
“It takes guts and humility to admit mistakes. Admitting we’re wrong is courage, not weakness.”
― Roy T. Bennet
“The willingness to show up changes us, It makes us a little braver each time.”
― Brené Brown
Being terrified but going ahead and doing what must be done—that’s courage. The one who feels no fear is a fool, and the one who lets fear rule him is a coward.”
― Piers Anthony
“Mistakes are always forgivable, if one has the courage to admit them.”
― Bruce Lee
“Never bend your head. Always hold it high. Look the world straight in the eye.”
― Helen Keller
On chasing after your dreams
“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”
“You cannot swim for new horizons until you have courage to lose sight of the shore.”
“Don’t be afraid of your fears. They’re not there to scare you. They’re there to let you know that something is worth it.”
“If ever you feel like an animal among men, be a lion.”
― Criss Jami
“Believe you can and you’re halfway there.”
― Theodore Roosevelt
“Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore.”
“If you have a dream, don’t just sit there. Gather courage to believe that you can succeed and leave no stone unturned to make it a reality.”
― Dr Roopleen
“Each mistake teaches you something new about yourself. There is no failure, remember, except in no longer trying. It is the courage to continue that counts.”
― Chris Bradford
“Whatever course you decide upon there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong. There are always difficulties arising which tempt you to believe that your critics are right. To map out a course of action and follow it to an end requires….courage.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson
“Do not be afraid. Do not be satisfied with mediocrity. Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.”
― Pope John Paul II
“Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.”
― T. S. Eliot
“He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life.”
― Muhammad Ali
On embracing change
“When we least expect it, life sets us a challenge to test our courage and willingness to change; at such a moment, there is no point in pretending that nothing has happened or in saying that we are not yet ready. The challenge will not wait. Life does not look back. A week is more than enough time for us to decide whether or not to accept our destiny.”
― Paulo Coelho, The Devil and Miss Prym
“We can’t be afraid of change. You may feel very secure in the pond that you are in, but if you never venture out of it, you will never know that there is such a thing as an ocean, a sea. Holding onto something that is good for you now, may be the very reason why you don’t have something better.”
“Real change is difficult at the beginning, but gorgeous at the end. Change begins the moment you get the courage and step outside your comfort zone; change begins at the end of your comfort zone.”
“Expect trouble as an inevitable part of life, and when it comes, hold your head high, look it squarely in the eye and say, ‘I will be bigger than you. You cannot defeat me.”
Courage doesn’t have to be complicated. True, it is sometimes hard to find, especially in the most disarming situations. But even the smallest dose of it can help you take that infinitesimal yet necessary step forward.
True courage is in you, in infinite supply. Sometimes, you just have to name it right.
You may also like reading:
- My life was going nowhere, until I had this one revelation
- What J.K Rowling can teach us about mental toughness
- How a regular guy became his own life coach (and how you can too)
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