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42 Quotes About Courage

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Courage is the capacity to face fears, difficulties and stress. Quotes about courage often describe it as the root of all virtue whereby you can't really do the right thing without courage. It is also common for quotes to describe the dangers of safety and complacency whereby doing what you fear conquers fear, solves problems and aligns your behavior to your ideals.
A ship is safe in harbor, but that's not what ships are for.
― John A. Shedd, Salt from My Attic, 1928
Go to the edge of the cliff and jump off. Build your wings on the way down.
~ Ray Bradbury, Brown Daily Herald, March 24, 1995
Courage is a quality so necessary for maintaining virtue, that it is always respected, even when it is associated with vice.
~ Samuel Johnson, 1784
I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It's when you know you're licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what.
~ Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird, 1960
Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point.
~ C.S. Lewis, 1944
I'll say this for the Queen. She was brave ... or possibly stupid. It's easy to mistake the two.
~ Ben Aaronovitch, Foxglove Summer, 2014
Courage in danger is half the battle.
~ Plautus, Pseudolus
Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear—not absence of fear.
~ Mark Twain, Pudd'nhead Wilson, 1894
The courageous man then is he that endures or fears the right things and for the right purpose and in the right manner and at the right time, and who shows confidence in a similar way.
~ Aristotle
Cowards die many times before their deaths.
The valiant never taste of death but once.
~ William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar, 1599
You must do the thing you think you cannot do.
~ Eleanor Roosevelt, You Learn by Living, 1960
Every great work, every big accomplishment, has been brought into manifestation through holding to the vision, and often just before the big achievement, comes apparent failure and discouragement.
~ Florence Scovel Shinn, The Game of Life, 1925
Our boys and girls ought to know that the bully type, the false "tough," has been the first to break down under the actual fire of battle.
~ Pearl S. Buck, What America Means to Me, 1943
Mental clarity is the child of courage, not the other way around.
~ Nassim Nicholas Taleb, Fooled by Randomness, 2010
Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage.
― Anais Nin
God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change,
courage to change the things I can,
and the wisdom to know the difference.
~ Reinhold Niebuhr, The Serenity Prayer, 1942
Courage charms us, because it indicates that a man loves an idea better than all things in the world, that he is thinking neither of his bed, nor his dinner, nor his money, but will venture all to put in act the invisible thought of his mind.
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson, Journals, 1859
All happiness depends on courage and work.
― Honoré de Balzac
Courage is the capacity to meet the anxiety which arises as one achieves freedom. It is the willingness to differentiate, to move from the protecting realms of parental dependence to new levels of freedom and integration.
~ Rollo May, Man's Search for Himself, 1953
This is the art of courage: to see things as they are and still believe that the victory lies not with those who avoid the bad, but those who taste, in living awareness, every drop of the good.
~Victoria Lincoln, Vogue, 1952
A great part of courage is the courage of having done the thing before.
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson, The Conduct of Life, 1860
There are periods when...to dare, is the highest wisdom.
~ William Ellery Channing, The Union, 1829
Whistling to keep myself from being afraid.
~John Dryden, Amphitryon, 1690
A man does what he must in spite of personal consequences, in spite of obstacles and dangers and pressures and that is the basis of all human morality.
~ John F. Kennedy, Profiles in Courage, 1956
What really counts is not the immediate act of courage or of valor, but those who bear the struggle day in and day out — not the sunshine patriots but those who are willing to stand for a long period of time.
~ John F. Kennedy, 1962
Have courage to use your own understanding! —that is the motto of enlightenment.
~ Immanuel Kant, What is Enlightenment?
When a brave man takes a stand, the spines of others are often stiffened.
~ Billy Graham, A Time for Moral Courage, 1964
Courage is almost a contradiction in terms. It means a strong desire to live taking the form of a readiness to die.
~ G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy, 1909
Complete courage and absolute cowardice are extremes that very few men fall into. The vast middle space contains all the intermediate kinds and degrees of courage; and these differ as much from one another as men's faces or their humors do.
~ François de La Rochefoucauld, 1678
People talk of the courage of convictions, but in actual life a man's duty to his family may make a rigid course seem a selfish indulgence of his own righteousness.
~ F. Scott Fitzgerald, Flappers and Philosophers, 1920
Either life entails courage, or it ceases to be life.
~ E.M. Forster, Pharos and Pharillon, 1923
The stories of past courage can define that ingredient — they can teach, they can offer hope, they can provide inspiration. But they cannot supply courage itself. For this each man must look into his own soul.
~ John F. Kennedy, 1964
Be scared. You can’t help that. But don’t be afraid. Ain’t nothing in the woods going to hurt you unless you corner it, or it smells that you are afraid.
~ William Faulkner, The Saturday Evening Post, May 9, 1942
Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex and more violent. It takes a touch of genius—and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction.
~ E. F. Schumacher, Small is Beautiful, 1973
'Tis said that courage is common, but the immense esteem in which it is held proves it to be rare.
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson, Society and Solitude, 1870
Courage is rightly esteemed the first of human qualities, because, as has been said, 'it is the quality which guarantees all others.'
~ Winston Churchill, Great Contemporaries, 1937
Courage is what others can't see, what is never affirmed. It is made of what you have thrown away and then come back for.
~ Leonard Cohen, Journals
It is when we all play safe that we create a world of utmost insecurity.
~ Dag Hammarskjöld, Secretary General of the United Nations, 1962
The onward march of the human race requires that the heights around it constantly blaze with noble lessons of courage.
~ Victor Hugo, Les Misérables, 1862
It may often be noticed, the less virtuous people are, the more they shrink away from the slightest whiff of the odour of un-sanctity. The good are ever the most charitable, the pure are the most brave.
~ Dinah Craik, A Woman's Thoughts About Women, 1858
Courage is the main quality of leadership, in my opinion, no matter where it is exercised. Usually it implies some risk — especially in new undertakings. Courage to initiate something and to keep it going, pioneering and adventurous spirit to blaze new ways, often, in our land of opportunity.
~ Walt Disney, As quoted in the Disney Way Fieldbook, 2000
Courage is the price that life exacts for granting peace.
The soul that knows it not, knows no release
From little things;
Knows not the livid loneliness of fear,
Nor mountain heights where bitter joy can hear
The sound of wings.
~ Amelia Earhart, Courage, 1927
Deeds of daring dazzle history and form one of man's guiding lights.
~ Victor Hugo, Les Misérables, 1862


This is the complete list of articles we have written about courage.
Courage Quotes
Fake It Till You Make It
Risk Taking
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