Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Intelligent Women and Courage

 Psychology Today blogger Steven Kotler has an interesting article about courage on his site. He mentions the lack of research about the topic and starts his own examination of the understudied concept. He says, "Considering the massive spike in anxiety-disorders in the past few decades, this dearth seems especially troublesome." I agree, thinking particularly of past  posts titled, "Anxiety is the Enemy of Intelligence", Nov. 17 and 21, 2010.

Anxiety is also the enemy of courage, although I don't have research findings to validate that belief.

As a start, Kotler has developed 12 categories of courage, which in a way is a good start, but in another way seems like an obstacle to understanding of the characteristic.  The two categories that most interest me at the moment, as related to intelligent women are:

"4. Intellectual Courage: Obviously, this is the willingness to come out in favor of an idea that others find patently ridiculous. I think there are probably a few subset [sic]  in here as there seems to be some kind of fundamental difference between, say, Galileo’s courage to argue that the earth revolves around the sun (based on scientific evidence) and the courage to defend an idea like creationism (that flies in the face of scientific evidence), but how to tease them apart further is not yet clear."

"9. Emotional Courage: This is a willingness to do something like get divorced or break up with your boyfriend and the like, where on knows that you will feel emotionally wretched for a considerable period of time afterward, yet you’re still willing to suffer those consequences for a greater emotional (ie. chance at happiness) pay-off later."

I applaud Kotler's  attempt to get a handle on courage, although I would have different definitions and different examples.  E.g. Intellectual courage is much more than willingness to come out in favor of an idea that others find ridiculous. It is courage to take time and energy to think first rather than react, to gather information rather than make up stuff, to know your facts, even if they disagree with your beliefs. What Kotler calls intellectual courage, I would call integrity, but now I'm heading for a tangent.

I see what Kotler talks about as emotional courage as courage to take action, based on decisions you've arrived at through your intelligence and your emotional moderation. What are your thoughts about courage, intelligence, negative self-talk, stress and women in particular?

I'm going to follow Kotler as he keeps on this topic of courage. Here's the link to the post:
Intelligent Women and CourageSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

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