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Creative Career Path

Easier done than said!2012.09.18

    Some things look a lot harder than they are to do. A Japanese proverb has it that it is easier to do something than to worry about it (anzuru yori umuga yasushi). The attempt is sometimes easier than expected.

    We make it seem harder to do than it actually is by building a wall of excuses. Brick by brick we lay down the reasons why this is not the best time, we are not ready, it might be embarrassing to fail, someone else would be better qualified, until the wall seems to be reason itself not to try.


    A friend told me a story about a man in Australia who sells sheets and towels. No ordinary man, he is one of the country’s top salesmen, and is known as an expert on cold calling. Like anyone, he finds himself starting to create excuses; but unlike most people, he just goes ahead and does it anyway. What kind of person can approach a butcher shop in the middle of their working day without an appointment, walk right in, sell them some sheets and towels, and then walk right out? How often have you faced a similarly unlikely scenario, but decided to walk on by instead of walking on in?


    Of course, this man doesn’t succeed on every try. But what he does when he doesn’t get a sale is equally interesting. He sits on a park bench and reflects on what happens. Apparently he uses a particular type of Buddhist meditation to calm and clear his mind, and then recovers fully connected to himself and his purpose.


    The thing about courage is that it comes from taking action. The Scots celebrate it through their national flower, the Thistle, celebrated in poetry as the symbol of the Brave Heart. In the famous poem by Charles Fraser The Scottish Thistle (, “Feel free my friends to give a wee whistle...Give a grand toast to the Scottish Thistle.”


    We speak of an act of courage, not talk about courage. Admiral William “Bull” Halsey is famous for saying, “Touch a thistle timidly, and it pricks you; grasp it boldly, and its spines crumble.” Many famous quotations about courage refer to valor or heroism, heavily mixed with military metaphors (


    However, it might be far easier and more useful to remember that the real field of courage is daily life.

    "Everyday courage has few witnesses. But yours is no less noble because no drum beats for you and no crowds shout your name." ~ Robert Louis Stevenson (1850 - 1894), Scottish Novelist, Poet, and Essayist


    The things that hold us back are sometimes external. The resistance of other people, the tyranny of convention, the unwillingness to try something new. But ultimately it is we who agree to such reasons, and succumb until our sense of courage grows numb.


    When we try to go around the wall of excuses, we find that it follows us like our own shadow. The only way around it is through it, just do it. Start with how you display more courage at work, and in your career. Look at your relationships, and see if they are guided more by courage or cowardice. How do you want people to remember you, in terms of how you live your life?


    Small acts of courage can be as simple as expressing your opinion, or doing something in a way that is different and unexpected. Will it raise eyebrows? Most certainly! Will it generate opposition? Sometimes. But even that can be a test of the courage of your convictions. Courage is facing difficulty, danger, or pain without fear.


    Clearly we are not talking about driving fast, acting rashly, or putting yourself and others in harm’s way. The word Courage originally comes from French, courage, related to the word coeur, or heart. Find your strength within, and learn the greatest lesson of courage, that it is easier done than said!



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    Article Writer

    William Reed

    William Reed is a renowned author-speaker who coaches physical finesse and flexible focus for a creative career path. A certified Master Trainer in Guerrilla Marketing and 7th-dan in Aikido, he combines practical wisdom of East and West to help you learn personal branding at the Entrepreneurs Creative Edge.

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