A Society of Cowards

By: Gabriela Yareliz

A society of cowards. Perhaps most of the ills in society can be traced back to a spiritual crisis in which we have eliminated God and have placed ourselves alone on the universe’s stage. And then, in the midst of the anarchy, we grow afraid.

We live in a society that craves a relative reality that doesn’t exist and yet tries to dictate certainty. As I was reading Courage is Calling by Ryan Holiday, I came across this passage:

“What if there was certainty, if there was a well-lit, well-defined path? If life were like this, no courage would be required.”

But the truth about this world is, “No one can tell you that your plan will succeed. No one can tell you what their answer to your question will be. No one can guarantee you’ll make it home alive. They can’t even tell you how far down the hole goes.”

Safety and certainty. Isn’t this was society looks for? Friendships have been destroyed and arguments have been had about this.

I believe we live in a time of zero accountability. Zero accountability for actions and zero accountability for words. People want what they want, consequence-free. LOL to that “reality.”

“The coward waits for the stairs that will never come. They want to know the probabilities. They want to prepare. They want assurances. They hope for a reprieve. They’re willing to give up anything to get these things, including this moment of opportunity that will never ever come back.”

Ryan Holiday’s words made me reflect. What am I waiting for? What assurances do I crave? What am I giving up in exchange for something that won’t ever come?

In many ways, I think we have allowed fear to take the driver’s seat in society and in our personal lives. It is the concrete block in our decision scales.

Holiday wrote, “If fear is to be a driving force in your life, fear what you’ll miss. Fear what happens if you don’t act. Fear what they’ll think of you down the road, for having dared so little. Think of what you’re leaving on the table. Think of the terrifying costs of playing small.”

What we should truly fear is not reaching our God-given potential. We are on the clock. None of us knows how much time we have left. The time we do have, we should be shedding the thin ideologies of the day and remembering the truth of the matter: God is with us. He stands before us, beside us and behind us. While fear is a human reaction, God repeatedly tells us, “Do not be afraid.” We need to feel the fear, and then move forward despite it. We must be grounded in truth not fear. Truth is a foundation for courage.

“Fear speaks the powerful logic of self-interest. It is also an inveterate liar,” Ryan Holiday writes.

He writes that self-preservation isn’t real. It is an illusion we delude ourselves with. There are no guarantees. Make a calculated bet and bet hard. Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you can have an extraordinary life while wallowing in fear. “We like to think we can have an extraordinary life by making ordinary decisions, but it’s not true. It is actually all the ordinary decisions– the safe ones, recommended by every expert, criticized by no one– that make us incredibly vulnerable in times of chaos and crisis.”

He continues writing, “All certainty is uncertain. You’re not safe. You never will be. No one is.” Imagine if we could really come to grips with this as a country. As a world. Man. “In putting safety above everything, we actually put ourselves in danger. Of being forgotten. Of never coming close. Of being complicit.”

Are we okay assuming this danger? Do we prefer it if it comes with an illusion attached to it? What will it take for us to wake up and be bold? Can we restore the virtue of courage where it belongs?

So many are emboldened in fallacies and error. If there was ever a time to stand up and fight for truth (actual truth not ideas that make us comfortable), the moment is always now. There can be no backing down. There can be no cowardice.

Published by Gabriela Yareliz

Gabriela is a writer, editor and attorney. She loves the art of storytelling, and she is based in NYC.

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