This is an SAT essay that I wrote.  The rubric asked if sacrificing our priorities is courage.  I misunderstood the question and wrote out an irrelevant essay which states what true courage is.  Still it is a good essay, so …

The words “brave” and “courageous” are used with much frequency these days when in fact, it is not at all easy to tell who is or not worthy of praise for the meaning these words hold.  Those among us who seek the pleasure of an adrenaline rush are merely adventurers, while – on the other hand – those who can accomplish things despite the hampering obstacles cannot be generally called brave.  There are certain factors which contribute to the bravery of an individual.  A brave person must be more than dauntless, indomitable or heroic.  Besides, true courage can only be recognised only under the right circumstances.  However, such circumstances don’t necessarily include our priorities being at risk.

If somebody fights for something just because it is important to him, that doesn’t make him brave.  We should consider what he wants or needs it for.  He could be sacrificing all he has for a mindless obsession or some egocentric satisfaction.  Or what if the thing he defends so much harms society in his possession?  We had demagogues like Hitler during World War II.  Hitler had so strong a will to form the Third Reich and went to the extremes to realize it.  Just because he was working consistently for founding of the Reich doesn’t mean he was a brave man; he had not a good cause.  Nowadays, we have the Taliban.  These Islamic fanatics have been terrorizing the Middle East, fighting relentlessly over a decade to preserve their provincial and traditional beliefs and customs – which are not compatible with modern societies – and they still haven’t given up.  They have gone as far as killing who are non-Islamic.  Trying to preserve their failing political system because it is more important to them doesn’t bring them the honour of courage.

Determination itself can be courage though.  When we crave for something very strongly and passionately, the desire just gets so strong that it becomes what we call a “burning ambition”, forming a vision real enough to be felt.  Under such a condition, an aim or a goal is sure to be achieved, if carried out in the right way and with a good motive.  We will find the strength in ourselves to overcome any obstacle or knock down any barrier.  Our hopes and dreams beget determination and that determination gives us courage to go through anything.

There have been many remarkable human beings in history who found courage out of determination.  Mother Theresa went to in India – which, for her, is a new land with unfamiliar faces of different faith – in order to help the underprivileged people there.  She encountered various adversities but ultimately succeeded.  Similarly, Rachael Carson who publicized environmental issues was confronted with severe criticism from chemical industries when her books on the environment care were released.  However, since she could prove what people have been doing to the environment, her books got great appeal and people started caring for the environment.  U Kyi Pwayt of the Bagan Era was an illiterate up to a very old age, but out of determination, he stated his education and became a much revered academic.  Such determination brings about sweeping changes in the world, and I would attribute true courage to it.

Not many people are brave, and fewer get the chance to show this special quality of theirs.  However, this courage does not need external provocation to be known to the world.  It is revealed under a certain circumstances, especially when these intuitively brave people start to have strong and burning determinations and take action.

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