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The Paradox of Courage: Are Brave People Also Risk-Takers?

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         Dr.Reyaz Ahmad

People, who display extraordinary bravery and fearlessness, willingly taking on situations that most of us would find scary, come across us throughout our lives. These brave people inspire us with their unwavering determination and persistence in the face of adversity. However, it’s also common to come across individuals who, despite their incredible bravery in certain domains of life, are incapable of finishing far simpler tasks. This begs the interesting question: Can we call someone brave when they embark on challenging tasks yet condemn them as cowardly or weak when they falter at easier ones? In this post, we aim to explore this extraordinary paradox.

An unreasonable apprehension of the “impossible”

Motivational speakers frequently assert that nothing is insurmountably tough. Some even claim that the word “impossible” is not in their lexicon. Their positivity may be contagious, but the reality is far more nuanced. There are boundaries to one’s abilities, but these boundaries are influenced by many factors than just one’s bravery, tenacity, or willpower.

The Benefits of Taking Chances

The crux of the issue lies in one’s willingness to accept risks. While courage and bravery are commendable qualities, they are insufficient on their own without a willingness to take measured risks. Being truly courageous and taking chances go hand in hand. People who regularly succeed in seemingly impossible endeavors are those who are willing to embrace the unknown and overcome challenges.

Think about a person who has received numerous great awards for valor yet continues to smoke daily. This person dares to take on the seemingly simple task of quitting smoking despite being exceptionally brave in dangerous situations. This is not a case of cowardice or weakness; rather, the problem is an unwillingness to take a chance on breaking a powerful habit.

Anecdote: My fear of driving is…

Allow me to share a personal story to shed light on this conundrum. I’ve always been willing to aim high, take bold chances, and make daring decisions in my professional life. However, I find that fear overwhelms me when I’m driving in crowded places. The idea of navigating through crowded streets worries me, as does the potential for accidents. Driving is only safe in places with less traffic for me.

This autobiographical tale serves as a warning that not all people who take risks are made equal. I’m willing to take chances in some areas of my life, but in others, I worry about certain things. This merely demonstrates the diversity of courage and does not diminish my bravery in situations where I am willing to take chances.

In Conclusion

Taking chances, being courageous, and being bold are all separate but connected ideas in the vast scheme of human experience. Courageous people can and should choose to occasionally avoid taking risks in all areas of their lives. Bravery and cowardice are often perceived differently depending on the context and facts of the case.

Can someone who excels at challenging jobs but falters at simpler ones still be considered brave? The answer is unquestionably yes. Given the richness and complexity of the human experience, anyone displaying courage is someone to be admired. We are all brave in our unique ways as we navigate through life, even though we all have certain worries and vulnerabilities.

The writer is a faculty of Mathematics at Skyline University College, Sharjah, UAE. E-Mail:- [email protected]

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