I’m currently reading a great book titled, “Work the System” by Sam Carpenter. Today I read a section where he talks about quiet courage. Sam defines quiet courage as, “…unadorned action and it is the opposite of procrastination. Quiet courage resides deep inside and causes one to buck up and do what needs to be done whether one wants to or not.”
As I read that today it made me think that as we’re out causing something to happen, there are often days where we may not feel like doing what needs to be done. For example, in the pursuit of good health, there may be days where we just don’t feel like going to the gym. While striving for a strong healthy marriage, we may not feel like engaging in tough conversations that we need to have. The list is endless, but the truth is that during the pursuit of whatever we are striving for, we will face times when we just don’t want to do what we know we need to.
I’m curious as to how we can develop quiet courage in our own lives. What can we do to develop the persistence to push through feelings of “not wanting to”, instead of seeing them as insurmountable obstacles that thwart all efforts at forward progress? I think one of the best things we can do to build quiet courage in our own lives is to recognize when the feelings of procrastination and lack of motivation are beginning to take hold. At this point we have a crucial decision. We can give in to the “I don’t want to” feelings or we can do what needs to be done, in spite of how we feel.
Regardless of the choice we make, we reinforce or build a habit. If we procrastinate every time these feelings arise, we reinforce the response of procrastination. On the contrary, if we do what we need to, even when we don’t feel like it, we begin building the muscle of quiet courage. The more we choose to take positive action regardless of feelings, the stronger this muscle grows.
Commit today to being mindful of the “I-don’t-feel-like-it” feelings when they crop up in life. When they arise, attack them with the positive, forward-moving action. Responding in this fashion long term will rapidly build a quiet courage within you. And when that happens, the “I-don’t-feel-like-it” feelings you encounter will be short lived.