There are incredibly brave and amazing people out there.
Seriously, just look at some of the people currently taking up my Facebook news feed:
Okay, realistically, only one of those pictures actually fits the bill for brave and amazing…and it isn’t the guy valiantly riding with the umbrella.
While scrolling through my news feed for some great examples, I couldn’t help but realise the one example I thought was actually quite brave didn’t have the greatest number of ‘likes’.
I understand that the number of likes is based on a variety of things on Facebook. The number of friends’ friends’ friends’ friends (what I believe the kids totes call a “social network”), the images you use, the words you select to describe your experience or if you make it a little witty.
Or if you pay Facebook to promote around the ‘interwebs’.
But look again at this image.
These people from remote Australia came across a bull stuck in mud and jumped in to help get it out. Bulls very much have the ability to not only hurt or maim, but kill people pretty easily.
However, this bull’s life and health was worth more to these men than the danger.
So, is this brave, or is it stupid?
Every single day we engage with a huge number of people and situations. Depending on a wide variety of factors, the way we react and deal with these people or situations will usually fall somewhere between brave or stupid.
Let’s pause here and consider this by bringing up the Continuum of Bravery and Stupidity.
There’s a few things here that we probably need to clarify.
Yes, Donald Trump is stupid.
Yes, Rosa Parks is amazingly brave.
Quick disclaimer first: the reason these two people were chosen for this continuum is due to them both relatively iconic and identifiable across various countries and timelines. Donald Trump is continually popping up on our news feeds, whilst Rosa Parks’ story is still passionately told today.
But…what makes Rosa Parks incredibly, amazingly brave and not stupid?
Interesting question. Let’s consider the definition we have for bravery.
ready to face and endure danger or pain; showing courage
This means doing ANYTHING when you are ready to face or endure danger IS brave.
This cat is definitely facing up to some danger, possibly about to endure some pain, but it is still facing up to it anyway. Or else it is least observant cat in history and simply hasn’t noticed the 600 dogs near it.
What about that group from remote Western Australia saving the bull? It’s clear they were more than willing to face and endure danger and/or pain to save and look after that bull. Definite examples of being brave.
Rosa Parks sitting in a section of a bus, knowing it went against social norms and values back then, while also understanding the possible dangerous consequences for her passive stance?
But, then, couldn’t the same could be said about Donald Trump when he goes onto a news program knowing he may be roasted and passively mocked? Isn’t that also a clear example of someone being brave?
This isn’t going the way we had planned.
Ah, that’s right. We forgot that other aspect: stupidity.
lacking intelligence or common sense
Let’s now look back on all of the information we have at hand. People (and animals) are brave as long as they are aware of the possible danger, but lacking common sense or intelligence means that you are stupid.
It doesn’t seem that the continuum fully fits in with real life.
It’s time for that special thing you’ve all been waiting for…The Table of Bravery.
The Table of Bravery:
Section One: Trump Tower
Even though certain people may speak openly and honestly about their thoughts, and run a presidential campaign focused on making things great, they can still also lack common sense. People within this section may speak before they think and not fully be aware of situations or people around them.
Whilst they may be brave, they are also stupid.
What we might call “Doing a Donald”.
Section Two: The T-Rex
People within this section are not only unaware of the situation and what it requires, but also couldn’t stand up for themselves or others if it was called for. They may not fully understand what it is they believe in and can be easily swayed.
There’s a reason the dinosaurs aren’t still around.
Don’t be a T-Rex.
Section Three: Malcolm in the Middle
What is more frustrating than a dinosaur? That person you know who is switched on, aware and can read a room of people. They get a feel for what is needed and have a strong set of beliefs which are well founded and supported by theory, practice and followers. You might find yourself sitting down over a coffee discussing intricate and complex topics as this person’s way of seeing things is pretty inspirational.
On the way to being fully inspired to follow in the footsteps of this person you discover something. When it comes to acting out and living the messages and ideas they profess, they just can’t see them through – especially when it comes to crunch time.
Don’t be crunched by a Malcolm*.
Section Four: The Changemaker
People within this final section are the ones that really can inspire and bring about change. The person or people within this section demonstrate incredible characteristics of courage and being able to move against the pack, but not simply to better themselves or impress others. They are able to weigh up and consider situations and people, and calculate worthwhile risks.
Ego isn’t the biggest factor within this section – it is common sense, the common good and the needs of the group that drive these people.
These people are the ones that make you want to be at work late. They make you want to put in that little bit more effort because, well, they genuinely inspired you through not only their words, but also their actions for themselves and others.
The people in this section not only understand themselves, their beliefs and their attitudes, but they are able to see past themselves, understand the bigger picture and then take a calculated risk.
These people help the bigger picture become real.
So, the next time you see a person doing something that really does seem to stand out as brave and courageous, consider the underlying reason behind their choice. Better yet, let’s not simply look at others, but look at you.
What was the last brave thing you did that was for others? How could you do something that goes against the grain to support a friend, cause, group or simply one other person that deserves it?
You can do it.
You know you can because it has already been done by others before you.
Go on, Do a Rosa.
How have you done a Rosa before?
What experiences have you had dealing with people living within the other sections?
*Truth be told, there are some amazing policies, arguments and ideals Malcolm Turnbull professes and believes in…we are just waiting for him to realise he may need to realign his professional standings to instigate some real change Australia needs right now
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The Story of Rosa Parks – A biography told through history.com
Donald Trump – moments and times when common sense was lacking