Courage and Creativity: Natural Allies of the Human Spirit

Courage and Creativity: Natural Allies of the Human Spirit

Activism February 13, 2024 / By Mahdi Alesiad
Courage and Creativity: Natural Allies of the Human Spirit

Bravery and creativity are inherently interconnected

Certain traits are universally recognized to be linked: empathy and kindness, discipline and hard work, gratitude and contentment, and so on. But other pairs of essential relationships need to be more widely recognized. In our popular imagination, courage and creativity often inhabit distinct realms, with creativity exemplified in scientific endeavor, artistic work, innovative building design, etc., and courage is displayed when someone charges into the battlefield, walks a tightrope, confesses one's love, etc. Despite appearances, being brave and creative are fundamentally related, and the conscious recognition of this powerful alliance can be the first step towards its realization and fruit-bearing, which is essential not just for the flourishing of the individual but for our communities, too.


It takes courage to be creative. Let's dive deeper together and explore this relationship.

Creativity involves the at least partial abandonment of tradition and the 'ways of always' in order to venture into the 'unknown'. The proverbial comfort zone is characterized by doing things the way they have always been done. To let go of what is safe and comfortable for the promise of what is uplifting and exciting instills fear. What is unknown instills fear. A rustling sound in the bushes at night, walking in complete darkness, the prospect of a new profession, and so on. In the face of fear, only courage is the antidote. In many professions, we find ourselves in situations where we either stick to how things have always been done with mixed results or try something completely new. It takes courage to let go of tradition and explore the unknown. Inconspicuously, the mind does not even wander into uncharted territory without courage.

Being creative entails daring to pursue an idea or course of action, even when its success is uncertain. The looming possibility of failure can be daunting. It takes courage to confront this fear and embrace ventures that are risky yet potentially fulfilling.

I see that spark of courage in a coach on the sidelines as she articulates a novel tactic to her players. I witness it in an innovative chef boldly incorporating a novel ingredient into his dish. I observe it in a school teacher endeavoring to kindle her students' curiosity through unconventional methods. I notice it in a musician who combines the organ and the electric guitar. And I see Mahatma Gandhi and the Indian masses proclaiming their commitment to resisting oppression through non-violence. Each of these individuals demonstrates courage by embracing new and risky ideas.

Many creative ideas and actions originate from our innermost selves. It is not always easy to 'bare our soul'; there's a prevailing notion to keep it concealed, shielded from judgment. If a flower bud could sense, it might harbor similar apprehensions before blossoming under sunlight. Thus, it requires courage to acknowledge that our thoughts and feelings constitute genuine human expressions shared by many and to be willing to unveil our authentic selves to the world.

We frequently fail to recognize that the world would be drab and monotonous without diversity and heterodoxy. Distinctive ideas or actions infuse our world with vibrancy and are contributions worthy of celebration and appreciation.


The unexpressed idea dies unsung. Though it receives no funeral or obituary, its loss amounts to one of the great tragedies of human life and condition: 'lost potential'. The individual and the world are at a great loss when this happens.

The individual forfeits an opportunity that could have enriched their life and propelled them to greater heights. Moreover, the world also suffers, as progress necessitates the alliance of courage and creativity to innovate and explore new avenues. The audacity is required to articulate and advocate for novel ideas, even in the face of the powerful elite who seek to preserve their dominance by upholding the existing order.

Therefore, the alliance between creativity and courage is one of the essential relationships of the human spirit. Both are natural capacities accessible and native to all people. Both can be cultivated. Anyone can start.

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