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I’m Brave Enough To Say I’m Not Brave

If you can dream – and not make dreams your master;
If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same; 

So these lines are from the epic poem ‘If’ by Rudyard Kipling and I have a big problem with them.
They are about being ‘brave’ in the face of challenges and being strong in the heart and other such Samurai/Kshatriya/Soldier thoughts.

But how does someone become brave? Are you born brave? Or do you learn bravery? And could it be that just as God gives some people quicker feet and cleverer minds he gives some people bravery and not others.

Of course,  there’s parents and teachers also. They help you to be braver or not.

Now take my father. He was one brave son of a gun. He was a fighter pilot. He would get up at 4 in the morning, eat five parathas (you can’t fly supersonic jets on an empty stomach) and take off  for war.

He would fight sky battles with the Pakistanis 30,000 feet above the ground, knowing that any second a missile or anti-aircraft fire could end his life.
Heck! He was so brave that he actually got a medal for bravery from the President of India.

But me? I was an un-brave. When I was getting married, I was getting heart palpitations. My family doctor told my mother, “Please make sure he takes a stable steady job like banking or chartered accountancy. He can’t bear too much tension or stress.”

I was stupid and I didn’t listen. I took a stressful job in advertising. Then made it more stressful by opening up an ad agency of my own. And now have added another double scoop of  tension to my stressful sundae by becoming a startup entrepreneur.

Some people strive on stress. I can’t stand it. Some people are willing to go into battles they have a 50:50 chance of winning. I don’t even feel comfortable when I’m 60:40. Some people have nerves of steel. I think mine are jute.

This is the point where you as a reader need to pick a side. If you’re disgustingly brave (like my friends VS and VK) then go away to another page. If you’re not brave at all, then stick around and read further.

Here is an all-important truth for you. If you’re not brave then there’s no need to feel inferior. Because you are actually showing more bravery than anyone else.
To explain. Take a brave person – they compete with others, face interviews, take the stress of financial pressure, fight when needed and handle critical health problems reasonably well. Because of their God given bravery.

But take a non-brave person. They have to do all of the above without being brave!!

So you tell me who’s the braver one?

In light of this allow me to rewrite the poem I began with.

If  you can walk a straight line
When your knees are still shaking
If  you can aim strong and true
When there are tears in your eyes
If  you can spend a night full of  fear
Yet wake up to face the next day’s sun
If  you can feel unloved unsupported
And yet love and support someone
If you can fear the worst every day
And yet make the best of the years
Then you’re the un-brave
Doing what you have to do
And you may know it or not
The world is even prouder of you 

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