365: Alpha

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I had a conversation with someone a bit ago that briefly touched on the concept of bravery. This person felt that to be brave was simply to be afraid of something and do it anyway. I disagree. If you are afraid of something and do it anyway, you most likely fall into one of these categories:

1. Irrational: That which you fear is entirely unlikely and you do it anyway, because you know that what you are scared of is will probably never occur.

2. Taking a Calculated Risk: This is your best option. Your statistical chances of what you fear happening is a small enough percentage to justify doing it as opposed to your other options.

3. Foolish: There are other choices you could make, but you choose to take this course of action anyway, even though your feel it is dangerous.

4. In a Really Crappy Situation: It is your only option. You don't like it, but there are no viable alternatives. If this is the case, then hopefully you're working your butt off to create better alternatives and get out of the bad situation as quickly as possible.

None of the above make you brave. To be brave you need to have an over 50% likelihood of being killed or otherwise badly harmed and more importantly you need to be making the dangerous choice for someone else. Racing across several lanes of busy highway traffic to save a stray dog is brave. Being in a rampaging shooter situation and attacking the gunman in hopes of saving you and all the other victims is brave. Firefighters are brave. Policemen are brave. Martin Luther King and Ghandi were brave. Bravery is a word we should use to honor those who have helped us rather than justify daily actions of other taken in spite of their fears.