I don’t consider myself ‘brave’.
But for anyone with an innovative mindset, wanting to change the world in some way through their creativity, well you need some bravery.
I call this quality your ‘Adversity Quotient’ – your ability to bounce back when faced with problems, people saying ‘No’ or worse, an indifference to your idea.
No matter how talented you are, if you don’t possess sufficient Adversity Quotient for your task in hand – your great idea, or humble suggestion, it is not going to happen.
I am currently reading ‘Small Acts of Resistance’ by Steve Crawshaw and John Jackson, which collects many small acts of resistance, defiance or witty disobedience even in the most dangerous of circumstances from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe.
Inspiring stories are also closer to home.
I particularly liked the stories I read recently in the UK media of the schoolgirls who created a human chain around a police van in the middle of a riot, during demonstrations about university charges, and also the woman who got down on the rail track to stop a train in protest about a lack of action against anti-social behaviour.
The schoolgirls did not have an outstanding desire to protect police vehicles. Rather, they astutely recognised that if demonstrators set about the abandoned vehicle the next day’s headlines would be full of ‘rioters destroy police van’.
Instead, they wanted to focus the media on their cause, the genuine protest and concern about significant increases in tuition fees for future generations of students.
The images of the girls, brazenly holding hands to create a human daisy chain and a defiant barrier to those disposed to more violent acts, was truly inspiring.
Similarly breathtaking, in a curious ordinary, matter-of-fact way, was the determination of a South Wales mother not to tolerate anti-social behaviour from a group of yobs in front of her family on her local train.
After politely asking them to refrain she was met with a torrent of abuse. Undeterred she tracked down the train guard who refused to do anything.
Both moved to the end of her tether yet resolute in wanting to stand up for what she believed to be the right thing to do, she got off the train at the next station, got down onto the tracks, and refused to move until the Transport Police were called to deal with her original complaint.
Despite facing even further abuse she stood firm.
The rail company is now pursuing her complaint. One person made their mark in standing up against anti social behaviour.
What both acts confirm, along with the numerous inspiring tales from the ‘Small Acts of resistance’ book is how there is significant bravery around – and indeed, all of us can be brave in some way.
Amazingly, as I am writing this on a train – which is delayed and waiting for a relief crew to arrive – a guy sitting across the aisle from me bangs his fists violently against the seatback in front of him. It clearly unnerved the girl who just happened to be in the seat in front.
I remonstrated with him. He argued back complaining that he was angry that the train was delayed. Punching seats and upsetting other female passengers was not the answer was my firm retort.
We both get back to our respective worlds.
A minor act of bravery on my part? Or just doing the right thing?
Which I think is the principle guiding the schoolgirls in the riot, the upset mother and anti social behaviour, me challenging the bloke on the train – or me wanting to get my next idea off the ground in spite of opposition or apathy.
The creative person does it, because it is the right thing to do.
One of my most influential books I read in my adolescence was Joseph Heller’s seminal anti-war classic ‘Catch 22’. One of the book’s messages was ‘what is the point of being a dead war hero?’ I totally agreed at the time. Now, I am not so sure.
What is the point in living a life as an unprincipled person, not willing to stand up what you believe to be right? My favourite film and musical, the ‘Harder They Come’ features the song line: ‘I’d rather be a free man in my grave, than live my live a puppet or slave’
I am no hero.
I am preparing to take on the scientific establishment through my work on ‘Blue Monday’ the most depressing day of the year. I am putting forward the view that scientific illiteracy is partly caused by how scientists think, act or re-act. It may upset a few people, and provoke them to come for me.
I am part of a new community interest company, seeking to transform the future of my beloved beautiful Barry Island. We may have to take on in some way the local authority, the Vale of Glamorgan council to secure success.
I am taking on HSBC bank. I am taking this big firm to the Financial Ombudsman Service for what I believe to be their grave dereliction from proper standards in how they have treated one of my businesses.
I am currently doing my Twixtmas campaign.(Do visit the Twixtmas site.) No one has asked me to do it. I just think it is the right thing to do.
Are you doing what you think is the right thing to do? It is not bravery, because you are doing what you think to be the right thing. By doing what you believe to be right, you can change your world. You may even inspire others.