Courage is a heart word

Did you know that the word, "courage" used to mean something entirely different than it does today? "Courage" is a heart word - 'cor' is the Latin word for 'heart'. It meant, "To speak one's mind by telling all one's heart."

From Socrates to the Tao Te Ching, Medieval to Modern times, courage has shown itself to be notoriously slippery to define. Today, courage is more synonymous with being heroic. We seem to have lost touch with the notion that being honest and open about who we are, what we want, our experiences and our struggles to become the best versions of ourselves is the definition of courage. Heroics is about putting our lives on the line; courage is about putting our imperfect, vulnerable, authentic selves on the line. That is pretty extraordinary in today's world.

We see six kinds of courage:

They are the mortar from which we architect a Greenpeace that is alive with the Seven Shifts. It is the cultural currency of the brighter tomorrow.

They're not entirely separate and they don't work in isolation. Different kinds of courage may blend with others in a specific moment, they're interlaced and mutually reinforcing. So every act, no matter what shape or size is worthwhile because courage, of any kind, is contagious.

We're taking a broad definition of courage as 'feeling fear and choosing to act anyway'. We'd like to keep the essential connection between heart and head in the mix; the presence of vulnerability and the choice to move with it, without knowing the outcome.

We each have a role in creating a Greenpeace culture where "a billion acts of courage" and the Seven Shifts grow and flourish. Courage-building work - like courage itself - takes many shapes and demands many ingredients. We offer these as starting points for conversations around how we build a more courageous Greenpeace where the Seven Shifts thrive, from the inside out.