Courage of conviction

God grant me the courage not to give up what I think is right, even though I think it is hopeless. Admiral Chester W. Nimitz

All of us have the ability to passionately argue for what we believe is the right point of view and we can be both very adamant and equally vehement in sticking to our point of view even if those opposing us pick a few holes in our arguments. However, when it comes to actually standing up for our point of view when it matters, very very few of us have the courage and tenacity to take up the cause and pursue the matter till its logical end. In our previous post yesterday, we talked about ‘translating good intentions into actual deeds and this is precisely what we are focusing on today. We often give up not because we do not believe in our cause but we think it is a hopeless case since there may be a lot of vested interests in the opposing point of view, the opponents are far too strong, we lack the guts or we simply rationalize that the end result is just not worth the fight.

One reason most of us do not commit to what we believe in is because, far too many of us are armchair critics. It is easy to be one. All we need to do is spout our criticisms loudly, vehemently and dogmatically. If we out smarted all we need to do is sulk and slink away. Other times we can wave the flag of our beliefs and loudly proclaim that we were part of the original rooters for the belief even though we may have done nothing note worthy other than lending our lung power. You will find many such people in social service organizations, voluntary organizations and in social gatherings. In fact we see our own conversations in get together and parties, it invariably revolves around criticizing the government, the organizers, the local administration, our surroundings and society. In almost all cases, we would never ever offer our services in addressing the issue nor would we volunteer to be part of a set up which is keen to solve the problem.

For us to bite the bullet when it comes to standing up for our point of view, the first essential is a passionate belief in our point of view. Unless one is passionate about the cause, it is very difficult to convince ourselves that the fight is worth it. One reason many of us are not too passionate about things is because we are comfortable with the idea that the world maybe be in turmoil and it is best we adjust to it. Nothing then can shake us from our ‘ignorance is bliss’ attitude unless of course we get directly sucked into a problem. Often by then, we do not have too many backers for us for most of friends have subtlety hinted that our problems is ours and they can only sympathize. The second requirement is developing a tenacious attitude. This is partly inborn but largely the result of having developed not mere sympathy but a nature that is empathically inclined. This means that we don’t just stand by and acknowledge a problem but actively get involved in solving it. This requires patience to understand, a willingness to be involved and courage to commit to the cause.

Remember: You will see it when you believe it

Try this:

  1. Pick up at least 2 social causes one related to the general concerns of society and one related to a passion of yours and outline 5 ways you can actively contribute to it. Eg. You could be interested in the improving the general hygiene of your locality and also be passionate about cause regarding pets.
  2. Identify one old age home, one orphanage, one school for the physically challenged and another for the mentally challenged. Now make a beginning by visiting each one in turns once in two months at least. Examine your feelings, your learning, your changing style of empathy etc.

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