Br ˈkʌrɪdʒ Am ˈkᴈːrɪdʒ
the ability to do something that you know is right or good, even though it is dangerous, frightening, or very difficult
Cambridge International Dictionary of English
the ability to control fear and to deal with danger, pain, uncertainty, etc…
Highly inspired by Brené Brown‘s work on vulnerability, I introduced the word Courage at my maiden language evaluation at Bishan Toastmasters Club on 24 Nov 2012. Of course, Brené Brown had her own definition on courage, I took mine from the dictionary.
Bravery vs Courage
We often use these two words interchangeably but there is actually a great difference between the two. It is this difference why we often say “pluck up your courage” rather than “pluck up your bravery“. It is probably this difference Brené Brown uses the word courage rather than bravery to explain vulnerability.
In bravery, we are fearless about what we do. We often show no fear in protecting what we love and what we feel is correct. Hence, we use the word brave to describe this quality of fearlessness.
Courage, on the other hand, has an element of fear. If you refer to the dictionary definitions given above, notice that fear is present in the situation and it is something that needs to be managed or overcome.
The difference between bravery and courage is the element of fear.
With that, I’ll leave you with this video from TED to ponder on: