A Lion for a Visionary
Merriam-Webster dictionary defines the word “courage” as the “mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty.” Having courage speaks of having the will to journey on in spite of the obstacles and adversities that one meets along the way. Courage is a virtue that is desired by most of us. In fact, we often hear the words:
“If only I had mustered enough courage, I would have been able to tell my dad how much I loved him when he was still alive.”
“If only I had the courage to leave my comfort zone, I would have been able to achieve my greatest dreams in life.”
“If only I had the courage to take risks, my company would have reached the next level of productivity and growth.”
The hard truth about having the desire to have courage is that the “desiring” is the easy part. Aristotle once said that “Courage is the mother of all virtues because without it, you cannot consistently perform the others.” In 1 Corinthians 16:13, the Christians of Corinth were reminded to “Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong.”
It takes courage to bring into fruition the goals that we set for ourselves. Every New Year’s Eve a vast majority of us come up with an annual list of resolutions that we wish to keep until the next year. However, we are also confronted with the painful truth that we easily break the resolutions that we set for ourselves because of our own lack of courage, commitment and determination. Some of us become simply content of the status quo and we find ourselves giving up on discovering what we can become if only we pushed ourselves beyond our current limits. We have a paralyzing fear of the unknown and yet most of us choose to succumb to this fear without even giving a fight. J.R.R. Tolkien could not have been more correct when he said that “a man that flies from his fear may find that he has only taken a short cut to meet it.”
Positive thinking or simply having good vibes ain’t enough to meet the goals that we hope to achieve. Courage is not synonymous to wishful thinking. Something deeper and more serious is required of us. In Philippians 3:13, Paul used the word “straining” to speak about the action required to reach the goal. In 1 Corinthians 15: 58, we are reminded to be stand firm and be uncompromising: “Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” In Joshua 1:9, the command to be courageous could not be made clearer: “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” In the entire chapter of Hebrews 11, we are reminded by the lives of the men and women of faith that courage comes from trusting Emmanuel. Whom shall we fear, again?
“13 Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”—Philippians 3:13-14
It may not be apparent now because of the global reach of its brand but the journey of Hyundai is an excellent example of the importance of having a goal and having the courage to stick with it no matter what. In the early years of Hyundai, the cars that they manufactured became the butt of all jokes about poor branding, poor design, and poor performance.
Chung Ju-yung, the founder of Hyundai, knew how to set goals and make sure that he would strain toward the goal of making Hyundai a global brand. Chung, who came from an impoverished childhood, one day grew tired of poverty after having read articles on business and entrepreneurship published in the local newspapers. His heart was warmed and his imagination was sparked by the thought of being able to escape poverty by setting a grand goal in life. He decided to leave his hometown and began the pursuit of his dream with courage and perseverance. Waves of failure came along the way but he kept his eyes on the prize!
Although Hyundai Motor Company began as a joke, Chung Ju-yung persisted with his eyes fixed on what seemed to be an elusive goal to the faint-hearted. In 2009, Hyundai was the world’s largest automaker by profit and, in 2010, the company sold 1.7 million vehicles worldwide. Hyundai is a story of a dream fulfilled through courage and perseverance. Chung Ju-yung was a man with the nature of a lion, a visionary who did not stop at dreaming but decided to blaze a new trail for his country and his people.
Talk about setting a goal and having the courage and determination to bring it to fruition!
“The LORD is my light and my salvation– whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life– of whom shall I be afraid?” – Psalm 27:1