The difference between bravery and stupidity

Blue Dragon Michael with happy kid 05.13 smlUsually when I tell people the story of my one-and-only sailing adventure, the immediate response is: “You were brave to do that!” I quite like the compliment, but it’s not true. I wasn’t brave at all, because I had no idea what I was getting myself into. Had I known, I might not have boarded the flight to the US. My enthusiasm to go wasn’t bravery. It was stupidity – I went into something with my eyes closed.

Having said that, I am glad I went. Parts of the trip were frightening, and it took me a full 5 days to overcome sea sickness – but in hindsight it was one of the best things I have ever done. Never have I learned so much about myself and tested my own limits. (And, for the record, I didn’t make it to Fiji – I only reached Hawaii).

It’s easy to mistake stupidity for bravery . The results are often the same, or at least similar. But bravery is knowing what you’re up against, and yet going in to a difficult and dangerous situation anyway. Stupidity is going in with your eyes closed, not knowing or maybe not caring what the consequences could be.

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