There’s an old saying – courage doesn’t always roar.

When I was little, I used to think that an act of courage was defined by how much it was recognized by the rest of the world. How much press you received, how many people saw you in your moment of glory, and the aftermath – the people patting you on the back and loving you for what you did.

I’ve grown. Literally and figuratively.

Courage for me has changed time and time again. From that view the little boy had to now…a developing young man. I am always in the mentality of “bettering.” How can I bring something better to the table today? Can I work a little smarter? Can I lift a little harder? Can I write a little more from the heart? The answer is always yes. You can always do something a little bit better. You can always put in a little bit more effort. Truly, I believe, we actually have no idea what we are capable of.

But like I said before, courage doesn’t always roar.

In fact, it rarely does. In all of the things that happen every single day, how many of them do you actually see or hear about? Not many at all. But they are happening. For me, at the inception of this project, the greatest courage I could muster up was putting my trembling fingers to the keys. To write down my feelings and what was in my heart, no matter how painful, and at the same time try to protect the privacy of others and in all…do it all out of love. It was hard. Really hard.

Sometimes it still is really hard when life throws its best fastball high and tight up in around my chin and knocks me down.

I remember back in the early days of my baseball career, walking up to the plate against pitchers who were throwing really hard and fearing that I was going to get hit. I wasn’t even negatively thinking about striking out. There was something associated with all of that pain that I just couldn’t get over. When I actually started viewing it all as a challenge that I was willing to accept, and gearing myself up get a hit instead of getting hit…my batting average changed significantly.

Life works a lot in the same way. Sometimes you get hit by a pitch or you get knocked down and you find it hard to step back into the batters box.

Events happen in our daily lives that frankly, scare the living hell out of us. People get taken too early, we lose friends, we get cheated on, we get our hearts broken, we get stuck in abuse, we abuse drugs, alcohol, food, and add anything else you want to this list. The scroll of things we can get ourselves stuck in is close to endless. And on the other side of all of the ways these things make us feel – the grief, shame, fear, anxiety…hate… – there stands a light on the other side.

I will be the first one to admit that when you get stuck in the dark, it becomes very hard to see the light. I used to be so scared of the dark. But I don’t think I was scared of the dark as much of as being scared of what I could not see. I would fear the fact that I was surrounded by blackness, rather than focusing on the fact that I was the brightest thing in that night moving through waves of colorless night.

See yourself as a light.

When you begin to see yourself as a light, you find the inspiration deep within to create. More importantly, you take what is in your heart, what you know you should be doing, and start making it. Because you are the only one that can actually make it happen. You are the only one that can take that dream, just like it is in your head, and turn it into reality. It’s you. It’s only you. When you realize this, man, the world starts getting out of your way and starts helping you out.

Don’t fight the current of your heart. No matter how strong you try to row that boat, eventually you are going to continue to drift downstream with what you are supposed to be doing. Don’t fight this until you die. Instead, turn that boat around and rip roar downstream. Enjoy the current. Enjoy the speed. Enjoy the rapids of your passions.

Grow. Grow for you. Grow for your family and friends. Live like you were going to die and be ridiculous like you were a crazy man chasing happiness. Love. Love not only as a way of connecting with others, but as a way of healing your own heart. Bringing warmth into your life comes from within. It is much easier to defrost by starting from the inside out.

Heat up that core. The world will benefit from your love. And even though they may not appreciate it in the moment, people will always remember you for how you made them feel.

Evan Sanders
The Better Man Project