Magazine article Success

Channel Your Bravery: Build Moral Courage to Stand Up for What You Believe In

Magazine article Success

Channel Your Bravery: Build Moral Courage to Stand Up for What You Believe In

Article excerpt

It's one thing to be courageous when you're the one who will benefit from your bravery. But what if being courageous meant you might suffer? If a co-worker is being mistreated, for example, do you speak out on his behalf even if it means jeopardizing your job? If your child receives preferential treatment at school because you donate money, do you demand equal consideration for the students of parents who can't afford to give? On a larger (scarier) scale, would you protect persecuted people at the risk of persecution for yourself?

The type of valor required to say yes to these questions is called moral or ethical courage. Moral courage is doing the right thing in the face of your fears, says Irshad Manji, founder of the Moral Courage Project at New York University and a senior fellow at the University of Southern California Annenberg Center on Communication Leadership & Policy. "Moral courage is not just a virtue or an attribute, it's a skill," she emphasizes.

It's not hard to imagine the positive subjective well-being ramifications of doing things that make you feel good about yourself. Start building your moral courage skills today.

What is the greater good? That's the first question you should ask yourself when making decisions involving morals--before even thinking about the possible outcomes, Manji says. If you are clear on what "right" is, it's time to measure your moral courage. You may decide the consequences of making the "right" decision are not worth it, but at least you have made a conscious choice.

Work up to it. If you know blowing the whistle on your boss could cost you your job, it's understandable if you want to find another job or save a few months' worth of salary first. "So few people in societies all over the world demonstrate moral courage, so we have to appreciate it whenever and however it is displayed," Manji says. …

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