Practice Caring to Practice Courage

Not caring about what other people think is not the same as putting ourselves out there and being courageous.

Courage requires risk. It requires that, should we fail, there will be consequences. If we do not care about what other people think, no matter how personal and meaningful the work we do is, there is no courage in it because there is no risk of consequence.

The best, most meaningful, and personal work, the truly creative work, demands that we take risk. It demands that we put ourselves on the line, that we put our hearts on the line. It demands that we open ourselves up to be seen and that we care what others see. It demands that we are willing and able to be hurt.

Anything worth doing puts us in this position of vulnerability. It puts us in a position where, if it is not seen, if it is not accepted, and if it is not appreciated, that we feel something about that. We must feel something because the best creative work is not separate from us. It comes from the deepest, most personal part of us. It is us.

That we put our work out in the world anyway, that we put ourselves out in the world anyway, that is where the courage lies. If we are truly doing work that is personal and unique to us, that is creative in the truest sense of the word, we will fail and we will be hurt. That we do it again, in spite of failing and in spite of being hurt by that failure, is where courage is repeated and becomes a practice in itself.


Holistic Budo: As it is in budo, so too it is in life. As it is in life, so too it is in budo.

-Robert Van Valkenburgh is co-founder of Taikyoku Mind & Body, Severna Park’s Holistic Chamber of Commerce, and Kogen Dojo where he teaches Taikyoku Budo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

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