protect

365 Challenge: Day 76 – Courageous

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Courageous: not deterred by danger or pain; brave

When I first thought about the word courageous, images of people who protect others from danger flooded my mind. I imagined all our armed forces (navy, military, air, et al) around the world, doctors and nurses who travel the globe to treat the sick, cops and firemen who keep us safe from our own disasters and criminals, civil rights activists trying to achieve equality and fairness for everyone… all the people who knowingly take a job or volunteer position in which they have a strong chance of dying or being hurt as a result of such a choice. I was not surprised with the results when I searched for an official definition and picture for today’s 365 Challenge post. Those are courageous people.

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Although it is only a mere daily blog, and has little impact on anyone other than a few of us, I’d like to take a moment to remind all of us to be thankful for these individuals. Without them, our lives would be very different: less safe, more sickly and full of risk. The world grows more dangerous each day, but with the careful dedication of these groups, we have a fighting change to live full and healthy lives. So… Thank you… to anyone who falls into the category I’ve described above. I appreciate all that you do for me, and I simply wanted to take a moment to say it without it being prompted to by some event that caused me to think about it, e.g. newscast or article, natural disaster, seeing a member of this community.

By this definition, I am not what I would consider a courageous person. I have not embarked on a profession or become a volunteer in any area where I protect and serve the people of our country and this world. I have not been on the front-line watching my friends being shot at. I have not taken any risks studying a disease I could catch, in the hopes I can find a cure. I have not fought for a cause to protect all the freedoms for people who have been denied the basic rights every human should unquestionably hold. And I have not put on a uniform to keep our streets and homes safe and clean from things that could harm them.

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But underneath this prominent definition of the word “courageous” lives a more subtle meaning, one we apply to situations when someone takes a risk or goes above and beyond the expectation, knowing it will potentially have a negative outcome. We call these people courageous and brave for doing something different, for pushing the envelope, for standing out in a situation.

I applaud these people, too. Not nearly as much as those who serve and protect us, as noted at the beginning, but those who find a way to be courageous in their every day lives. When I look at myself, I have been brave in a few areas of my life. I’ve been courageous under such a definition or explanation. I quickly searched for a few commons components of this type of courage… more than the Wizard of Oz’s cowardly lion but less than Mother Theresa. A link is below to the full article, but the 6 key items I found were:

  1. Feeling Fear Yet Choosing To Act
  2. Following Your Heart
  3. Persevering in the Face of Adversity
  4. Standing Up For What is Right
  5. Expanding Your Horizons; Letting Go of the Familiar
  6. Facing Suffering with Dignity or Faith

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-mindful-self-express/201208/the-six-attributes-courage

As I’ve done on past posts, a quick exploration on these six items:

  1. I’ve felt fear and still acted. I once thought someone had broken into my home, so I grabbed a weapon and carefully checked the house. I was prepared to confront rather than escape and call the police (probably the wiser thing to do in that situation).
  2. I left a very strong, profitable and dependable career to take a chance on writing, which has always been my passion.
  3. I’ve faced little adversity in my life and wouldn’t dare try to show that I have. I have been privileged. I know it and am grateful. I need to do more here for others.
  4. I have stood up for a few things in my life, but not always. I should do better here, too.
  5. I have expanded my thoughts and taken chances. I am probably right about where I should be for this one.
  6. I’ve never been placed in a situation with major suffering. I have been privileged. And I am grateful. But if I were, I am more apt to have a dignified reaction in person. I may post and complain a little in writing, but that’s just creative expression. In reality, I would be much more admirable.

Courage is not easy. Some days, it feels like something we can easily attain. Others, it’s as far away as Oz. But it’s important to know that we should never forget about it.

Are you courageous? Do you have a story about someone with courage? Let’s share…

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay and I live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

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365 Challenge: Day 32 – Defensive

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Defensive: (1) very anxious to challenge or avoid criticism, or (2) used or intended to defend or protect

The best explanation I could give for how I have been known to be defensive is a work-related situation. One of my mentors, who knew me quite well, once pulled me out of a meeting, to highlight an example of how I was being defensive. This is where it gets funny… when you hear the word defensive, you likely think argumentative, disruptive and generally annoying. For me, it was quite the opposite. Apparently, and I don’t like admitting this, if a decision was made in a meeting that I didn’t like or support, my body language gave me away. I might have thrown out my opinion, and sometimes I didn’t weigh in if I knew I hadn’t a snowball’s chance in… never mind… point being… I apparently shut down. My expression went sour. My arms folded themselves across my chest. I sat back in the chair at the conference table. And I didn’t speak for the rest of the meeting. It was a silent defense system, more commonly known as pouting!

For the record, I respect Annalise Keating!

You’re thinking… that’s silly. Nothing you’ve said in the last 31 posts seems like you could have done that. Oh, but I did. And I fully admit it. I am a very defensive person, but I work on it regularly to try and let it dissipate. When my mentor (and boss) pulled me out the meeting, (s)he explained what (s)he saw, told me I’d never move up if I couldn’t learn to interact more professionally, and that it was immature.

I wonder which one I am in this little video…

My immediate reaction: “You’re wrong!” No, I didn’t say that… I accepted the feedback, returned to the room… (s)he told everyone there was a confidential production emergency and that’s why (s)he called me out to ask me to get someone to fix it, as (s)he was a very caring boss… From that moment on, I’ve been super conscious of my external behavior and how I’m being seen.

For that matter, I can also admit I was a defensive child, too. I never liked to be told I was wrong. Being wrong and me in the same sentence didn’t make much sense. I’d run off and hide if that ever happened. As I get older, I find myself seeing lots of situations where my facts or opinion are wrong or insufficient. I deal with it in a healthy way these days. I grab a drink and then go hide. Then everyone just thinks I’m thirsty. 😛

But it’s still lingering there on the surface. I don’t like being this way, but I know that I am. I attribute it to my father. He’s very defensive too. So I know I inherited the behavior, through either DNA or learned actions. Never in a horrible or mean way… just enough that it made me a bit more human. I’ve often been called robotic, so I suppose, this is a sign that I, too, have faults. Yuck. I hate saying that aloud.

But being defensive means you have passion. And passion can be healthy. It’s all a matter of perspective and control. If you’re defensive, you care about something strongly. Perhaps you want to protect it. It’s not always a bad thing.

Though I’m not a big sports guy, there’s always the offense and the defense within a game. Defense is there for a reason: to protect something and help ensure it is either given the path it needs or able to contain something long enough for the win.

I wonder what that guy was trying to defend?

Being defensive as a person should be a sign that you have something worth protecting. Then it’s just a matter of how to handle it professionally, with a courteous and considerate approach. At this point in my life and career, it’s really a very minimal issue… in fact, I’m more concerned about people seeing it, so I almost never let it show or happen. And that’s progress!

Any other defensive folks out there? How do you help keep it in check?

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay. I am 40 and live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post.