Is there any difference between being BRAVE and not LIVING AFRAID?
Somehow, society in most so-called third world environments, allows us to sustain those mindsets that give us the platform for self-pity and invariably, powerlessness. For example, I have noticed that most Nigerians really don’t know the difference between being brave and not living afraid. It sounds simple and probably a non-issue, but it is not. This mindset is everywhere. It is a fearful and over-cautious mental posture that gives people more clarity about what can go wrong than what can go right. The nation is losing so much, billions of dollars in ideas and projects never attempted because someone thought no one will listen, positions never taken because someone is afraid he might be attacked, resistance never initiated because someone does not want to die…we can go on and on.
I remember one time, myself and a business associate was rushing for a business presentation. We were running late and our presentation was not fully ready, so we had to be working on the laptop right there in the car. We got to a particular notorious area, and all of a sudden, my partner went into frenzy and began to shake and panic, making efforts to quickly hibernate the laptop and put it under the seat. Apparently, that same week, someone had been robbed and shot at that same spot in the traffic. His words were that robbers may come and collect the laptop and may even shoot. It makes sense and it may happen. But I asked him what will happen if they don’t come. We were few minutes away from a breakthrough presentation, when we get there and we are not ready, what do we say to the investors we are presenting to? Okay…we’ll tell them that we thought we will be robbed, so we couldn’t bring out our laptops to finish the presentation so that we will not attract robbers (laughs). I said to my friend, “…you know what, i’m just going to keep working and if robbers come and collect the laptop, then it will make more sense and generate more empathy to get to the presentation point and tell them we were just robbed than to say that we thought we will be robbed.”
I continued to work on the laptop in the car, my friend wasn’t comfortable at all but i kept working, the green light finally showed and we moved off…we were not robbed. We went on to have a fantastic presentation and the rest is history. If my friend was alone that day, he would have denied everyone the blessing of experiencing the best of what that moment can offer simply because of fear.
See, to be brave is to take meaningful action, after necessary consultation, despite the presence of fear in pursuit of a noble outcome. Fear is only eliminated by result. Every step of the way leading to the desired result, fear is a constant accomplice. It’s nature, and impossible to eliminate. We need a definition of life that drives us to a level of audacity that pushes us to action not because we can eliminate the possibility of failure, but because we can be inspired by the possibility of success and positive outcomes. There is an audacious, daring, bold, and risky posture that is always required to solve and deal with the complex problems of enduring civilization.
In business, there is always cost-benefit analysis that empowers us to pursue the kind of clarity we must experience to take a decision about going forward. There will always be situations where it is impossible for there not to be a cost to manage before we can have the good experience we crave. Cost is an investment. We cannot respect a cost so much that it perplexes us and keep us inactive. We always need to know the cost but only to the extent that the benefits will also be considered. It is the cost of achieving something and the opinions of observers and the intimidating realities of shame or loss of life that actually create the fear we feel. But there is always a cost to everything and the cost will always create a fear.
Meanwhile, cost is actually supposed to be the price paid to acquire, the price paid to produce, to accomplish, or to maintain anything of value. See, the mother of all truth is the fact that the only time you can be brave is when you are afraid. Being brave and courageous is when you do something, regardless of your fears. The reason we are afraid is because there are always unknowns, but then, you go ahead and do it anyway, despite the unknown. There will always be difficulties arising that tempt you to fear that you don’t have what it takes. Trust me and believe this, to map out any course of action and to follow it to an end will always require courage and bravery…and bravery is only necessary because of fear. If fear is not a reality, bravery will be unnecessary. And if loss is not potent, courage will be meaningless.