I didn’t know who Ambrose Redmoon was either until I did some research on him.
What I discovered was that “Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear,” is only the first line of a much larger quote that he ‘wrote’ from the paraplegic confines of a wheelchair.
Born in 1933 in Painesville, Ohio, as James Neil Hollingworth, Ambrose was a beatnik, hippie, and former manager of legendary rock band Quicksilver Messenger Service. At the age of 33, he was in a near-fatal car accident that left him confined to a wheelchair, dependent on the care of others. With his former life gone, he turned to writing. Though he struggled to get his writings published and was little known beyond a relatively small circle of mystic followers, Redmoon kept writing until he passed away in 1996. Five years before his death, though, he wrote an article for the fall issue of Gnosis: A Journal of the Western Inner Traditions. In it, he gives the entire quote:
“Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than one's fear. The timid presume it is lack of fear that allows the brave to act when the timid do not. But to take action when one is not afraid is easy. To refrain when afraid is also easy. To take action regardless of fear is brave.”
We all know of times when, in the midst of abject fear, courageous acts are done.
We’ve all read the stories of a mother whose son is trapped underneath an overturned tractor. Desperate and focused only on saving her son’s life, she lifts the heavy farm tractor with one hand while rescuing her son with the other. Urban myth, maybe. However, you and I both know what fear feels like. We know how debilitating it is, how it can stop us in our tracks, and how it can make us run away.
The courage the mother had—the kind of courage I am talking about—had to do with making the decision that something else was more important then her fear. Then, it was just a matter of taking action--moving in the direction of what she wanted beyond the reach of fear. It’s not about ignoring the fear. It’s about choosing something greater.
What Do You Need to Be Courageous About?
Perhaps it is about the ending of a relationship, the beginning of a new career path, or dealing with a particularly challenging family situation.
Maybe it’s about something more soulful, such as finding peace amidst the tempestuous storms of life, getting right with God, or laying down a grudge you’ve held against another.
What is the Voice Inside Your Head Telling You?
If you are a small business owner, that voice could be telling you all sorts of interesting things. Perhaps it is screaming,“Get out now before you lose your shirt!” Or, “You don’t know anything about running a business, who do you think you are starting one up?”
Deciding to become a small business owner takes courage. Courage to move past the fear. Courage to reach for something greater, beyond the reach of fear.
Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than one's fear. The timid presume it is lack of fear that allows the brave to act when others do not. But to take action when one is not afraid is easy. To refrain when afraid is also easy. To take action regardless of fear is what is courageous and brave.
What’s beyond the reach of fear? The stuff that dreams are made of. The burning desires, passionate excitements, and innovative ideas that will transform your life and make a difference in the world. Knowing that, what are you waiting for? Be bold. Act courageously today.
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About the Author: Dr. Susan L. Reid is a business coach and consultant for entrepreneurial women starting up businesses. She is the author of "Discovering Your Inner Samurai: The Entrepreneurial Woman's Journey to Business Success." To download a free PDF chapter of her book, go to Alkamae. If you're interested in finding out more about what steps you can take to ensure your lasting business success, get your free PDF: "Doing What You Love: Multiple Streams of Passion" at Your Inner Samurai.