Courage should not be confused with audacity. Although audacity is trendy, both courage and courtesy and loyalty are forgotten words, since courage represents humility and discretion.
Audacity is nowadays present everywhere: business life, political life and even in some social and cultural fields. Audacity means frequently takings risks, sometimes it is about inventiveness and, very often, it means going against the grain. But as Confucius affirmed, “he who once shows courage is not always courageous”.
Courage is less spectacular, since it often stems from a permanent will of facing adversity. In times when heroes stand out, courage is often imperceptible, since it hides a way of reacting to events and facing them, which is not valuated in a reasonable manner.
Audacity often occurs at a given moment throughout our life, even when individuals, business leaders or some other high-profile leaders which pride themselves on the fact that they use this value in all of their actions, do not necessarily seek recognition and honor. For them, audacity represents very often an isolation solution which hides the lack of courage to confront a given situation. Audacity is a challenge whose reliability often diminishes over time.
Bravery or courage (which etymologically stems from “coeur”-“heart” in French”) is often used as a synonym of humility. For the most part, those who represent it do not claim it, but, fortunately, live it.
Audacity is trendy; it is often considered a movement of courage which knows no obstacle or limit. It is sometimes pejoratively described as a synonym of insolence and impertinence at the expense of its benefits.
Even though courage has been forgotten, it still remains a source of future. Nowadays we are faced with a question: is the man who every day evolves in an uncertain and constantly changing world courageous enough to face terrorism, unemployment, abuse, the conflicts which cast a shadow over our world, the suffering of the oppressed peoples and all the existing scourges nowadays? The answer is yes.
While every day today puts much more scandals ahead of good deeds, we must represent, each at our own level, the expression of this discreet courage which often unites dignity and humility. Two other forgotten words!
Courage is a force which means respecting values with dignity, committing oneself to humility, taking responsability, listening and understanding our fellow human beings. As Winston Churchill stated, a brave man if ever there was one: “Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen”.
Courage is ageless. Each individual in its company, its association, its neighborhood, its cultural environment can show courage. It is the meaning that we give to our participation in the tasks carried out by our Group and the Platform AGE in Brussels, when we take measures for the welfare of the elderly and we carry out influential operations with MEPs to end certain discriminations and put solution on the table for the problems of pensioners and retirees.
Jean Claude Chrétien, Honorary President