Courage is a trait; it helps create heroes and aids in the destruction of villains. People all over the world have gained this trait and used it to protect what they believe in and what they love. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was an African-American social rights activist who fought for the rights of blacks in the United States till the day he was killed. He faced many troubles such as constant death threats and pressure from the government to stop his cultural movement. Even though these obstacles blocked him from achieving equal rights, King had the courage to lead his people and perform peaceful protest. As a result of his courage, King ultimately succeeded in his civil rights movement and brought equality to all of the races.

King must have felt fear when he received the death threats sent by people opposing his movement. Eddie Rickenbacker, an American WWI fighter ace once said, “Courage is doing what you are afraid to do. There can be no courage unless you are scared.” Fear will cause one to be courageous, in fact, it is a call for courage. When fear is nonexistent, courage is not needed. Courage is the process of overcoming a certain fear. It is only when fear exists that the act will be seen as a courageous one. This kind of courage starts from an impulse but can slowly grow and eventually become a massive force. Someone once said, “Every oak tree once started out as a couple of nuts who stood their ground.” The nuts who were courageous enough to stand and stay strong will grow to something unbeatable. The oak tree, which started out as a couple of nuts, is large and strong and cannot be easily toppled. Every courageous man will start out as something weak. Later they will gain even more courage and eventually that person will change the world just like Dr. King.

An Indian corporate executive and a teacher, Keshavan Nair, felt that courage could lead people into discovering more of their traits and gifts. “With courage, you will dare to take risks, have the strength to be compassionate, and the wisdom to be humble. Courage is the foundation of integrity.” One with courage will have the willpower not just to take risks but also the willpower to gain a string of new skills. Courage will open new doors and aid a person to gain not just bravery, but also compassion and humility. If this courage is not part of one’s foundation, one will lack integrity.  Without integrity, one will not grow and gain new traits and wisdom. The sprout has died and the core of the oak tree will never be established. With the foundation of courage the tree will continue to grow and achieve its maximum height and strength.

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