The Currency of Courage

Erik Cooper —  May 7, 2012 — 2 Comments

I am directionally challenged. When God knit me together in my mother’s womb, he left out the Google Maps app. Until recently, I was embarrassed to admit it. My dad is flawless with directions (unless they require power tools), but the gene pool seemed to dry up somewhere after red hair and freckles. Need proof?

A few months ago, my wife and I were driving from Chicago back to Indy. Thanks to the little blue dot on my iPhone screen, I’d safely negotiated my way through downtown traffic and was nearing the interstate when my worst driving fear became reality:

The road split.

One choice led due south–back to the promised land. The other went to Milwaukee. (No offense Wisconsin, but not even the Bucks want to play there).

I was heading west, so surely the left lane was the right choice (right? I mean, correct?). Blinker on. I didn’t make any friends as I slowly merged through the aggressive Chicago-land traffic (those people always seem to know where they’re going and you’re always in the way), but I hit that left lane with flare and confidence…

…only to watch it dip sharply under the lane to the right, bank north, and land us on the road to cheese-town.

This is why I hate driving in unknown areas! It’s dangerous. People honk at me. I look stupid in front of my wife. And despite all the logic and tools at my disposal, I seem to make the wrong call anyway.

Unfortunately, this mindset isn’t limited to navigating city streets. I hate being incorrect. I disdain feeling stupid. I run from the disapproval (honking horns) of others. And I despise–I mean vehemently–the regret that comes from mistakenly heading in the wrong direction.

But living a life that matters might be less about negotiating the traffic itself, and more about confronting the emotions that keep us from making decisions in the first place.

We want to make an impact, but we fear looking stupid.

We want our voice to be heard, but we feel shame when others disagree.

We want freedom, but we’re terrified of regret.

Decisiveness is the currency of courage. Perfectionism is the weight of cowardice. There’s usually a turnaround exit a few miles up the road, so let’s make a few decisions today while we’re waiting for the GPS to catch up.

What’s one decision you’ve been putting off because the emotions of potential mistakes are too much to negotiate?

2 responses to The Currency of Courage

  1. Great post! Though less directionally challenged, I certainly relate in many ways. I especially like the line, “Decisiveness is the currency of courage.”

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