photo by john muldoon

The Definition of Courage

A lesson from climbing.

I’ve climbed mountains in 20-something countries around the world. I’ve fallen, bled, summited, cried from both joy and fear, and marveled at the incredible beauty and savagry of the world.

None of those things makes me brave.

I used to believe that climbing was about glory and triumph, and that courage was about reaching a summit against the odds.

That was before I became a climber. Now I know better.

Climbing has taught me that the summit does not define us.

Courage has absolutely nothing to do with triumph or success.

We are defined by the simple act of going toward our challenges.

That’s the definition of courage. You don’t need a mountain for that.