Bayou of Bravery
“Bravery is the capacity to perform properly even when scared half to death.”
—Omar N. Bradley
In the Louisiana Bayou sat a small town with a private island, owned by the town’s wealthiest man; he had a young, beautiful daughter. One day the wealthy man held a meeting. Standing up in front of everyone he stated, “My daughter has come to the age of marriage. This coming Saturday I will hold a competition for the bravest man in town. He who is found to be the bravest will have my blessing to marry my daughter.”
The following Saturday the entire town showed up to the competition. The wealthy man asked all the interested men to stand on the platform and face the bayou. The majority of the townsfolk were rather poor, so mothers and fathers alike forced their sons onto the platform in order to bring wealth to their families. The wealthy man then explained that the first man to swim across the bayou to his private island would get to marry his daughter. It was no question to anyone as to why it would take the bravest and fastest man to survive: large alligators lurked under the murky waters of the bayou.
It was obvious that the men were scared as they faced the calm of the murky water. The wealthy man crossed the water on his boat to his private island and presented his gun.
He raised it into the air and shot it to signal the beginning of the race, but no one moved. He shot the gun a second time and no one flinched. One last time he raised his gun, and as he fired it, a man jumped from the platform and frantically swam across the bayou arriving to the private island unharmed.
When the young man ran out of the water, he was presented with a handshake from the wealthy man. The townsfolk on the mainland clapped and cheered.
The young man looked at the wealthy man as he attempted to catch his breath. After a few deep breaths he said, “Sir, I’m sorry, but I don’t want to marry your daughter.” The wealthy man was puzzled and asked, “Then what do you want son?” The young man said, “I want to know who pushed me off the platform!”
Being pushed out of our comfort zone can be scary; however, fear can also be a great motivator. Sometimes fear reveals exactly what we are made of. Don’t let your fear prevent you from accomplishing your true potential.