insium's newsletter on leadership: August, 2016

Written by  Wednesday, 10 August 2016
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The willingness to act towards a moral or worthwhile goal despite the presence of risk, uncertainty and fear

Robert Biswas-Diener, 2012

The VIA strengths of courage are bravery, perseverance, honesty and zest.  The benefits of these strengths include:

  • Healthy positive relationships
  • Taking personal responsibility for one’s actions
  • Increased tolerance for ambiguity
  • Increased resilience, personal growth and achievement
  • Increased trust
  • Increased happiness and wellbeing
  • Increased inclusiveness
  • Fuller expression of abilities, skills and talents
  • Increased resourcefulness
  • Increased self-confidence 

Adapted from Peterson & Seligman (2004)


While the following short clip depicts the courage of Buzz Lightyear:

courage is not purely the domain of the heroes in the world - ordinary people have courage too. (Lopez, Rasmussen, Skorupski, Koetting, Petersen, & Yang, 2010).  And yet, being courageous … requires courage.

While we know that reflection is a powerful tool for learning, increasing self-awareness, sense-making and more, we often don’t take the time to reflect … as this may take courage.  Nonetheless, a reflection exercise for you. 

Think of a recent experience in which you demonstrated courage.  This may be in the workplace, at home, while out socialising, exercising, engaging in a hobby, or elsewhere. It is an experience of which you are proud. 

  • What was this experience?
  • What and who enabled you to be courageous?
  • What was it about you that made this courageous act possible?
  • What was the outcome?
  • What do you most value about this experience?
  • What did you learn?
  • In addition to proud, how else did this experience make you feel?
  • As you reflect on your own story of courage, savour this experience; through this experience, remind yourself that you are already courageous.

If you would like to share your story, we’re keen to listen. 

I became keenly interested in the virtue of courage while working on a university group assignment with Judy Hilton, Jeldai King, Roz Rimes and Jayne West.  I am truly grateful to have explored courage with them, to have learnt from and with them.



Biswas-Diener, R. H. (2012).  The courage quotient.  San Francisco:  Jossey-Bass.

Lopez, S. J., Rasmussen, H. N., Skorupski, W. P., Koetting, K., Petersen, S. E., & Yang, Y.-T. (2010).  Folk conceptualizations of courage.  In C. Pury, & S. J. Lopez (Eds.) The Psychology of courage: Modern research on an ancient virtue (pp. 23-45).  Washington DC, US: American Psychological Association.

Peterson, C. & Seligman, M.E.P (2004).  Character strengths and virtues – A handbook and classification.  New York: Oxford University Press.


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Read 3275 times Last modified on Wednesday, 10 August 2016 06:18