What is courage?

Courage is an act of doing, not thinking; thinking is confidence. Courage is necessitated by a fear and acted upon by passion, a desire for something you care about. When the energy builds up for your passionate purpose, out of necessity courage comes into play.

In 1980 I was in my senior year at the U.S. Naval Academy and I decided to select the submarine force as my warfare specialty, meaning the branch of operations in which I would serve. In order to be approved, every officer needed to be interviewed by Admiral Hyman Rickover (1900-1986), the father of the nuclear navy who designed, received Congressional funding, and oversaw the construction of the first nuclear-powered vessel, the submarine U.S.S. Nautilus, SSN 571 (launched in 1954).

Over the next thirty years Rickover became one of the most powerful and feared individuals in the U.S. Navy and he personally approved every submarine officer candidate. The stories of his interviews are infamous; he told people to make him angry, he locked one man in a closet, and told another to call his mother and ask why she raised such an idiot. This five-minute video is the story of my interview.  The point of the story is to illustrate the essence of courage. Whether you are a parent, athlete, entrepreneur, or professional, courage is an essential quality to survive and thrive. So what is courage? Courage does not mean you aren’t afraid, of course you are! That is why it is called courage. Courage means you are afraid, but you do it anyway. Out of necessity, you act.  

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