15 Courage Examples

courage examples types and definition explained below

Courage is the ability to face and overcome fear while prioritizing a greater objective, guided by personal values and a commitment to growth and the greater good.

It is not the absence of fear, but rather the determination to act despite its presence. Courage manifests in various forms and contexts, from physical and moral to emotional and intellectual.

A courage example is a soldier charging into battle. This soldier demonstrates both physical and moral courage, overcoming fear to fulfill their duty and protect others. 

Courage Definition

Courage is the ability to face and overcome fear while prioritizing a greater objective.

It is not the absence of fear but rather the determination to act despite its presence, guided by a strong sense of purpose and a commitment to achieving a higher good.

As Redmoon (1991) explains:

“Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the assessment that something else is more important than fear.”

Cynthia L. S. Pury and Shane J. Lopez describe courage as a disposition to act despite the experience of fear, in the presence of a perceived threat, for the sake of a greater good (Pury & Lopez, 2010). They quote:

“Courage is a disposition to act in the presence of an object that is perceived as threatening, despite the experience of fear, for the sake of some good that is perceived to outweigh the threat.”

This definition not only acknowledges the role of fear but also emphasizes the importance of intention and the pursuit of a higher goal.

Examples of Courage

1. Soldiers: A soldier charging into battle despite overwhelming odds demonstrates immense courage. Such an act requires both physical and moral courage, as the soldier must overcome their own fear and uphold their duty to their country and fellow soldiers.

2. Whistleblowers: A whistleblower who exposes corruption in their workplace or government demonstrates courage. By risking their job, reputation, and even personal safety, they show a commitment to integrity and a desire to uphold ethical standards.

3. Coming out: A person coming out as LGBTQ+ to their family and friends despite potential rejection or discrimination shows bravery. Such an act requires an immense amount of emotional courage and a willingness to be true to oneself, even in the face of adversity.

4. Firefighters: A firefighter rushing into a burning building to save lives demonstrates extraordinary courage. They put themselves in harm’s way to help others, often facing extreme danger and life-threatening situations.

5. Standing up to injustice: A student speaking out against injustice in their school displays courage. They may face social backlash or retaliation, but by taking a stand, they show a commitment to fairness and a desire to create a better community for themselves and their peers.

6. Standing up against workplace harassment: It takes moral fiber and courage to speak out against harassment in the workplace, especially when the perpetrator is a powerful or respected figure. But by doing so, you can protect yourself and others from harm, and create a more trustworthy and safe work environment.

7. Advocating for social justice: Speaking out against inequality and oppression takes courage, but it is essential for creating a more just society. Whether it’s through protesting, advocating for policy change, or simply having difficult conversations with friends and family, standing up for what is right requires strength and conviction.

8. Overcoming a personal fear: Whether it’s fear of public speaking, heights, or social situations, facing and conquering personal fears takes courage. It can be scary to step out of your comfort zone and confront your anxieties, but doing so can lead to personal growth and greater confidence.

9. Standing up for a friend in need: When someone you care about is going through a difficult time, it can be hard to know how to help. But simply being there for them, offering support and encouragement, and speaking up on their behalf when necessary, can make all the difference. It takes courage to stand by someone in their time of need, even when it’s not easy.

10. Admitting a mistake and making amends: We all make mistakes from time to time, but it takes integrity and courage to admit when we’ve done something wrong and take steps to make things right. Whether it’s apologizing to someone we’ve hurt, making reparations for damage we’ve caused, or simply learning from our mistakes and striving to do better in the future, owning up to our faults takes strength and humility.

11. Overcoming addiction: A person who overcomes addiction demonstrates courage. It takes moral fiber, determination, and self-discipline to break free from the hold of addiction and live a healthy, sober life.

12. Advocating for your child: A parent advocating for their child’s education despite challenges shows courage. It may require confronting school officials or navigating complex bureaucracy, but the parent’s commitment to their child’s well-being and future success is unwavering.

13. Medics on the frontlines: A medical professional working on the frontlines of a public health crisis, treating patients despite the risk of infection, displays incredible courage. They are putting their own health on the line to help others, showing a commitment to their profession and their patients’ well-being.

14. Overcoming fear of public speaking: A person who confronts and overcomes their fear of public speaking demonstrates courage. It may require practice, coaching, and pushing oneself out of their comfort zone, but by conquering this fear, they are developing important communication skills and expanding their personal and professional opportunities.

15. Standing up to the majority: A person who stands up to a group or community that perpetuates harmful beliefs or practices displays courage. It may require going against social norms or challenging deeply ingrained prejudices, but by taking a stand, they are advocating for justice and equality for all.

Types of Courage

Courage can manifest in various forms, depending on the context and the individual experiencing it. See my full article on types of courage or read a summary below.

Here are some common types of courage:

  1. Physical Courage: This type of courage is demonstrated when an individual confronts physical challenges, risks, or pain. It may involve actions such as standing up to an aggressor, engaging in extreme sports, or even undergoing a medical procedure despite the fear of pain or an uncertain outcome.
  2. Moral Courage: Moral courage is the willingness to stand up for one’s beliefs and values, even when facing social pressure or potential consequences. This may include defending an unpopular opinion, whistleblowing, or acting against injustice or unethical behavior.
  3. Emotional Courage: Emotional courage involves the ability to face and express one’s emotions honestly, even when it may lead to vulnerability, criticism, or rejection. This could involve admitting one’s mistakes, apologizing, or sharing personal feelings and experiences with others.
  4. Intellectual Courage: This type of courage is demonstrated when an individual is open to challenging their own beliefs, opinions, and knowledge in pursuit of growth and understanding. Intellectual courage may involve engaging in difficult conversations, exploring new ideas, or admitting when one’s understanding is incomplete or incorrect.
  5. Social Courage: Social courage involves facing the fear of rejection or judgment by others while pursuing meaningful relationships or social goals. This might include speaking in public, approaching new people, or standing up for someone who is being mistreated.
  6. Spiritual Courage: Spiritual courage refers to the willingness to explore and question one’s spiritual beliefs or faith, even when it involves uncertainty or a departure from one’s previous convictions. It may involve embracing doubt, seeking new spiritual paths, or accepting the mysteries and ambiguities of life.

These types of courage often overlap, and an act of courage may encompass more than one type. Ultimately, courage involves facing and overcoming fear in various domains of life, guided by personal values, beliefs, and a commitment to growth and the greater good.

Conclusion

In conclusion, courage is a multifaceted virtue that can be demonstrated in various aspects of our lives. It is the ability to face and overcome fear while prioritizing a greater objective, guided by personal values and a commitment to growth and the greater good. From physical and moral courage to emotional, intellectual, social, and spiritual courage, these diverse forms of bravery enable us to confront challenges, stand up for what we believe in, and make a positive impact in the world. By recognizing and appreciating the different types of courage, we can foster a deeper understanding of this essential virtue and inspire ourselves and others to lead courageous lives.

References

Pury, C. L. S., & Lopez, S. J. (2010). The Psychology of Courage: Modern Research on an Ancient Virtue. In C. L. S. Pury & S. J. Lopez (Eds.), The Psychology of Courage: An Adlerian Handbook for Healthy Social Living (pp. 3-20). Washington, D.C.: American Psychological Association.

Redmoon, A. (1991). No Peaceful Warriors!. Gnosis Magazine, Issue 21.

Twain, M. (1894). Pudd’nhead Wilson and Those Extraordinary Twins. Hartford, Connecticut: American Publishing Company.

Chris
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Dr. Chris Drew is the founder of the Helpful Professor. He holds a PhD in education and has published over 20 articles in scholarly journals. He is the former editor of the Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education. [Image Descriptor: Photo of Chris]

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