“Courage Is Grace Under Pressure.”: Inspirational Quotes About Courage

Updated on September 8, 2016

What does the word “courage” mean to you? Does the word courage make you think of acts such as saving a child from a burning building or serving on the frontlines in wartime? I’ve heard that courage is being afraid and acting in spite of the fear you feel. This definition appeals to me, though, as you can see from this collection of quotes, there are innumerable ways to think about courage. I’m tempted to group courage and love in the same category of forces in our lives which are not easily explained. Or, at the very least, courage is like love because, to me at least, it’s essential in order to live a full, meaningful life.

  • Billy Graham: “Courage is contagious. When a brave man takes a stand, the spines of others are often stiffened.”
  • Martin Luther King Jr.: “We must built dikes of courage to hold back the flood of fear.”
  • Maya Angelou: “Have enough courage to trust love one more time and always one more time.”
  • Ian Morgan Cron: “There is a big difference in life between a jump and a fall. A jump is about courage and faith, something the world is in short supply of these days. A fall is, well, a fall. Maybe I was supposed to teach Maddie, Aiden, and Cailey about how to do both well. Maybe that’s what parents do.”


Everything worth doing starts with being scared.

— Art Garfunkel
  • Paul Tillich: “Decision is a risk rooted in the courage of being free.”
  • C.S. Lewis: “Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point.”
  • Helen Keller: “Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. The fearful are caught as often as the bold.”

It is a risk to love. What if it doesn’t work out? Ah, but what if it does.

— Peter McWilliams
  • Coco Chanel: “The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud.”
  • e. e. cummings: “It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.”
  • Glennon Doyle Melton: “I think that sometimes quitting is exactly the right thing to do. Quitting something that’s not working requires self-awareness and courage.”
  • Ruth Gordan: “Courage is like a muscle, strengthened by its use.”
  • Maya Angelou: “What I would really like said about me is that I dared to love. By love I mean that condition in the human spirit so profound, it encourages us to develop courage and build bridges, and then to trust those bridges and cross the bridges in attempts to reach other human beings.”

  • Kent Nerburn: “If we don’t offer ourselves to the unknown, our senses dull…we wake up one day and find that we have lost our dreams in order to protect our days.”
  • Robert Green Ingersoll: “The greatest test of courage on earth is to bear defeat without losing heart.”

Courage is being scared to death…and saddling up anyway.

— John Wayne
  • Anais Nin: “Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.”
  • David Viscott: “If you could get up the courage to begin, you have the courage to succeed.”

  • John F. Kennedy: “Efforts and courage are not enough without purpose and direction.”
  • Arthur Koestler: “Courage is never to let your actions be influenced by your fears.”
  • Muhammad Ali: “He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life.”
  • Rabindranath Tagore: “Let us not pray to be sheltered from dangers but to be fearless when facing them.”

  • Eleanor Roosevelt: “You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’”
  • Ernest Hemingway: “Courage is grace under pressure.”
  • Steve Jobs: “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma—which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.”
  • Winston Churchill: “Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.”

Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, ‘I will try again tomorrow.

— Mary Ann Radmacher
  • Nelson Mandela: “I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”
  • T.S. Eliot: “Only those who will risk going too far can possible find out how far one can go.”
  • Christopher Reeve: “Either you decide to stay in the shallow end of the pool or you go out into the ocean.”
  • Baltasar Gracian: “Without courage, wisdom bears no fruit.”

  • Eric Schmidt: “Yes is how you get your first job, and your next job, and your spouse, and even your kids. Even if it’s a bit edgy, a bit out of your comfort zone, saying yes means you will do something new, meet someone new, and make a difference.”
  • Dale Carnegie: “Inaction breeds fear and doubt. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.”
  • Fyodor Dostoevsky: “Taking a new step, uttering a new word is what people fear most."
  • Linda Ellerbee: “Laughter may be a form of courage.”

  • “As I walked through the park, I thought about how you always believe that there will be more time. You always think that you’ll find the courage, tomorrow, to speak the truth.” Alexandra Styron, “Reading My Father”
  • Neale Donald Walsch: “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.”
  • Author Unknown: “Courage is looking fear in the eye and saying, ‘Get out of the way. I’ve got things to do.’”
  • Theodore Roosevelt: “Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows not victory or defeat.”

  • Joan of Arc: “I am not afraid. I was born to do this.”
  • Margaret Shepard: “Sometimes your only available transportation is a leap of faith.”
  • Oprah Winfrey: “Do the one thing you think you cannot do. Fail at it. Try again. Do better the second time. The only people who never tumble are those who never mount the high wire. This is your moment. Own it.”
  • Maxwell Maltz: “Often the difference between a successful man and a failure is not one’s better abilities or ideas, but the courage that one has to bet on his ideas, to take a calculated risk, and to act.”

  • Soren Kierkegaard: “To dare is to lose one’s footing momentarily. To not dare is to lose oneself.”
  • George Addair: “Everything you’ve ever wanted is on the other side of fear.”
  • Eleanor Roosevelt: “The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experiences.”

  • Drew Barrymore: “If you don’t take risks, you’ll have a wasted soul.”
  • J.M. Barrie: “Courage is the thing. All goes if courage goes.”


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    • Julie K Henderson profile image

      Julie K Henderson 2 years ago

      ren21: Thank you for commenting. I am pleased that you enjoyed the hub.

      Larry Rankin: Thank you for your commenting. I'm delighted that you found some of the quotes beautiful and inspiring.

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 2 years ago from Oklahoma

      Some beautiful and inspiring quotes here.

      Great hub!

    • renee21 profile image

      renee21 2 years ago

      Great hub!

    • Julie K Henderson profile image

      Julie K Henderson 2 years ago

      RTalloni: Thank you for commenting. I agree that C.S. Lewis hits it out of the park. He was a master wordsmith. I'm glad you agree it is essential to live to our fullest.

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 2 years ago from the short journey

      Lots of food for thought in the times of our lives, but Lewis hits it out of the park, doesn't he? You are right, it is essential to live to our fullest.