The Two Sides Of Courage. Sometimes Doing Nothing Is Courageous.

Sometimes we need to act, sometimes we need to not act.

James E. McGinley, PhD
3 min readMay 21, 2022
Man walking alone on beach with footprints.
Photo by Ben Mack on Pexels

The world is socially complex and makes a lot of demands on us. This includes pressures to conform to all sorts of expectations from others. In the face of these pressures, we need to be strong and maintain our individual integrity.

We have to trust the power of our convictions, including our conviction to be ourselves.

Trusting, and being, ourselves takes personal courage. The tricky part is this.

Sometimes we need to have the courage to act, but sometimes we need to have the courage to not act.

What does that mean?

Before we look at courage, let’s consider its opposite. When we look at something’s opposite, it often provides illumination. The opposite of courage includes fearfulness, doubt, or weakness. It also includes being discouraged. We may both lack confidence in ourselves and also lose our energy to act.

The discouraged individual operates from the fear of failure, fear of a lack of acceptance, and does not have the confidence to be different or imperfect. The result is that the discouraged individual resorts to an exaggerated feeling of inferiority, simply discounting…



James E. McGinley, PhD

James McGinley, PhD is a professor, author, certified life coach, and licensed counselor.