The Brave Coward
Once there lived a man who was always scared and would run away from everything he feared. Tired of living a scared life, he went to a wise man for guidance, “Master, I have been a coward all my life. Please teach me to be brave.”
“Sure, but only on one condition,” Master replied. “For one month, every stranger who crosses your path, tell them “I am a coward” and say it loudly while looking straight into their eyes.”
The man panicked at the prospect of these humiliating encounters. For the first couple of days, he trembled with fear at the sight of a passerby. But he knew that he had to finish this difficult task if he wished to be brave. So, on the third day, he mustered all his courage and managed to utter softly, “I am a coward,” to one of the passersby.
Then something interesting unfolded. With each passing day, his voice grew louder and more confident. Within days the man was no longer scared and could easily execute the task that was assigned to him. At the end of the month, the man came back to the Master and bowed down, “Thank you, Master. I finished your task. Now, I am not afraid anymore. But, I do have a question. How did you know that this strange task will help me overcome my fear?”
The Master replied, “Both, fear and bravery are merely a question of habit. If we decide to face our fears everyday instead of running away from them, it’s just a matter of time till they get replaced with our bravery.”
It has been several months since our spirits began spiraling down—career uncertainty on the professional front, health concerns on the family front, and social isolation on the personal front.
Undoubtedly, every being on our planet is in a state of fear. However, amidst this global fear, there are beautiful stories of courage. There are many who have risen above their personal insecurities—health and essential service workers, police personnel, blue- and white-collar professionals, and many more. They have decided not to run away, and have chosen to fight their internal demons each day as they step out to spectacularly shoulder their responsibilities. Responsibility toward their country, organization, customers, colleagues, friends, and family. Their gallantry deserves our salutations.
For sometimes, bravery is not about the absence of fear. It is the realization that there is something more important than fear!