Courage vs Patience

The other day someone asked on Twitter ‘If you could pick one trait for yourself, in an unlimited quantity, what would it be?’.

I spent a lot of time pondering this question. There are many traits I’d like to have.


So many many of them. 

I finally narrowed it down to, not one, but two: Courage and Patience. Both important, both I am in short supply of.

I am a naturally cautious person and if there’s one thing I’d like more of, it would be courage. Not the kind of courage that makes one jump off cliffs or drive in the fast lane – that’s just silly. Though, on second thought, it might be fun too.

But no, that’s not the kind of courage I’m talking about. I want courage in regular everyday life — The courage to take risks, to try new things, to let go of ones self-consciousness, to change things around us. I want to not have to try so hard each time I need to be brave. To be naturally brave would be a blessing not to say extraordinarily liberating.

The other thing is Patience.

I always thought I had lots of it till I had children. And while they do know how to push my buttons that’s not what I’m talking about. 

The patience I’m seeking is in approaching life, in not giving in to the feeling of overwhelm that crowds one often. The patience to wait it out till things get better without losing one’s cool.

Sometimes even when one knows things will get better, or that something doesn’t really matter, stress and anxiety come crowding in, pushing all other thoughts away. It’s at those times that one needs patience to ride through the negativity.

When I put this same choice to the children they picked different qualities, the one each them thought they lacked. So that turned out to be interestingly predictable.

Let me put the same thought to you:

One, the original question — what’s the one trait you’d pick, if you could have it in an unlimited quantity and 

Two, what do you think you would pick for yourself between Patience and Courage?

Linking up with Mel’s # Microblog Mondays after a long long time.

10 Replies to “Courage vs Patience”

  1. Tulika, I would choose the exact two traits you did. I lack in both, in the same way, you do. Yes, I need courage to be able to step out of my comfort zone, courage to take risks, and courage to face the uncertain nature of life, without worrying about what tomorrow brings along with it. Patience, too, to go through the difficult moments knowing that someday these too shall pass and I need to just take every moment as it comes. Apart from these two? Confidence. Lots of it! Sometimes, I am pretty confident, but if someone was to criticize something I do with confidence, then all that confidence goes flying out of the window.

    1. You said it Shilpa – that bit about the confidence going flying out. It’s hard to stand up to criticism and to keep pushing your own work. That’s truly the hardest bit. I see youngsters on TV and I’m amazed at their sense of self.

  2. Courage, and Courage definitely.
    Self consciousness and fear of failing have held me back from using my strengths to the best advantage. And, though self consciousness has reduced a whole lot (mostly to do with age as well), I still struggle with trying new things or voicing my opinions even if i know them to be correct.
    Patience I’m a bit blessed with (the one you have described). A result of also being mindful and grateful in all kinds of situations. Hopefully that stays and keeps me going 🙂
    Thank you OM for making me focus on myself for a bit 🙂
    Priya recently put up this amazing post…Love and light!My Profile

    1. Self-consciousness is so painful. One of the best things about ageing is that finally one can begin to get rid of it and relax a little bit.

    1. Yeah that’s the kind of courage we need in our daily lives. I’ve come to realise it shall always be a bit of a struggle for me. Thanks Corinne.

  3. I have a question – are these traits or are they values? Because I see them as values to live our lives by. I most certainly value courage and make decisions/act courageously as a result.

    1. Here’s how I look at it — some people are naturally more cautious than others, some with a greater sense of positivity, some wiser. They’re inherent traits, parts of the personality we’re born with. We can change, we do change but some things come easier to some people. I’ve seen it with my twins – they’re different, they think and react differently because that’s the way they are, despite being brought up with the same values.

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