The Courage To Change Is A Virtue

By Jackson M. Henry

My wise Ruback buddy said that, ”courage is a virtue that bolsters all other virtues”. He continued on to say that in ancient Palau, fortitude was noble thing and a unique characteristic that villagers revered with the highest regards.

In Palau today, little can be done and no new ideas can be implemented unless one has the mental fortitude to face adversity and confront his or her fears. One fear that has apparently become common in Palau these days is the fear of change. Change, to many, means loosing something precious, experimenting with the unknown or upsetting their sense of comfort.

Economists say that in this century, courage to change is the most important attribute to have if one wants to bust loose from the bondage of poverty. Fear, on the other hand, is responsible for failures in business because it causes one to freeze under pressure, unable decide on a timely manner, selling oneself short, recoil when confused and wind up settling for less than what is fair and equitable.

I am absolute firm that, since inception of our nationhood 19 years ago, fear has become one of the main impediments obstructing Palau from realizing its full economic potential. Fear of failure seems to have become engrained in our culture these days.

Last week, Palau saw the breaking news covered by CNN regarding Edward Snowden, the man who leaked confidential NSA and CIA information to the world. Many in Palau opined that Snowden was courageous to stand up for the truth, knowing that the Government of the world’s most power nation will hunt him down. Nonetheless, many in Palau admired Snowden as a defender of the truth that no government is above the law nor does it possess the right to invade people’s privacy. Now that is a noble act.

Just like what Snowden did, courage requires action. First is to control fears because fears cannot be eliminated 100%. If one is afraid then everyone around him becomes afraid. The Ruback said that fear is part of life in Palau but, it is how you manage fear that counts. He advises us never be afraid to try something new, because at the end of the day, the truth is our ultimate defense.

The second thing is to confront your fears squarely in the face. Do not cower and hide under a rock or act like an Ostrich sticking its head in the sand. Instead, jump in it with both hands and feet and deal with your fears and phobias boldly in the face.

Lastly, do the things you fear to build competence. Psychologists call this “systematic desensitization”, where a person repeats doing what they fear until they become numb to them. If change scares you, then try being adventurous.

To be an effective leader or an entrepreneur, one must have the courage to change, take calculated risks, take responsibility for failures, instill confidence, inspire all with a bold vision and be innovative to stay ahead of the competition.

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