Courage is contagious
- Published on Monday, 18 November 2013 19:47
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“I took a risk and became the first and only girl in my village to ride a bicycle. Later, because I could ride to the next village, I was able to attend school and further my education. Soon other girls from my village began doing the same thing, and now they can go to school, too.”
– That Takes Ovaries participant
Courage is contagious
Our event participants are empowered by seeing and hearing what others have done. From childhood, many are trained to step lightly, carefully, even though taking risks and creating waves are often the skills that help a person most – whether advancing their career or ensuring their safety. So by celebrating courageous, risk-taking people, we encourage event participants to take more risks and lead more bold lives.
We believe that courage is contagious and risk-taking is infectious. This is true both between people and within a person. Between people, it is motivating to witness someone else’s courage. Within a person, an individual develops confidence and experience by taking risks and living through them; the more risks a person takes in one area of their life, the more they feel able to take them in others.
Once a person is initiated and passes the “I’m-a-risk-taker” threshold, and they know they can act regardless of fear, their life becomes fuller. With new found confidence, a person becomes willing to address unfair treatment they experience or witness. In fact, they are no longer able to tolerate the sight of injustice without trying to address it, because they no longer feel it is beyond their ability to succeed. If a person lives their life in a more daring mode all the time, then there will be no question about whether they will stand up for themselves and others when mistreated.
How does our belief that “courage is contagious” manifest at our events?
At our That Takes Ovaries and Leading a Bold Life events, participants relay true tales of their past courageous deeds to supportive, cheering crowds. This simple but important act affirms the individual storyteller’s confidence and determination to keep taking risks in their life, both personally and politically.
Because courage is contagious, the story that an individual shares at our event will inspire other audience members to be bold, too, both in general in their lives and also at the actual event itself, where a person may be motivated to step through their fear of public speaking and spontaneously share their own sassy story. When a person steps through this small, manageable fear and sees that they can survive the experience, it encourages them to step through their fear again, later, after the event, perhaps in a bigger way for a bigger issue, such as standing up for their rights or the rights of others. In this respect, courage is contagious within an individual, too.
Real political change on a community or systemic level cannot happen without someone or some group of people willing to embark on that first step of walking through their fear, that first step of taking a risk. Our That Takes Ovaries events and Leading a Bold Life events give people a place to practice this risk-taking and to celebrate it. They create ripples of courage that spread throughout the roomful of people. In the end, our events have a transformative effect on participants’ lives long after the event is over.