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In the beginning there is no big difference between the coward and the courageous person. Both have fear. The difference is, the coward listens to his fears and follows them. The courageous person puts them aside and goes ahead. The fears are there, he knows them, but the courageous person goes into the unknown in spite of all the fears. Courage does not mean fearlessness, but going into the unknown in spite of all the fears.
When you go into the uncharted sea, like Columbus did, there is fear, immense fear, because one never knows what is going to happen and you are leaving the shore of safety. You were perfectly okay, in a way; only one thing was missing - adventure. Going into the unknown gives you a thrill. The heart starts pulsating; again you are alive, fully alive. Every fiber of your being is alive because you have accepted the challenge of the unknown.
To accept the challenge of the unknown is courage. The fears are there, but if you go on accepting the challenge again and again, slowly, slowly those fears disappear. The joy that the unknown brings, the great ecstasy that starts happening with the unknown, makes you strong enough, gives you a certain integrity, makes your intelligence sharp. You start feeling that life is not just a boredom. Life is an adventure. Slowly, slowly fears disappear and you go on seeking and searching for new adventures.
Courage is risking the known for the unknown, the familiar for the unfamiliar, the comfortable for the uncomfortable arduous pilgrimage to some unknown destination. One never knows whether one will be able to make it or not. It is a gambling, but only the gamblers know what life is.