Mays Business School
Laura's MaysBlog
25Apr/12

The Importance of Courage

At the beginning of my accounting ethics class, our professor gave us an assignment—read any book of our choice. Once a week, in small groups, we discuss the ethical themes prevalent in our books. My group and I noticed a recurring theme in our discussions—the role of courage in ethics. We do not believe people set out to be unethical people. Unethical actions often result from a lack of courage to do what is right. We know what we should do, but we are not brave enough to make our intentions a reality. For our end of the semester project, my group and I looked to the silver screen to find examples of courage that related to the real-world scenarios we have studied in class. Below are some of the examples we found:

In this clip from Remember the Titans, Coach Boone exemplifies courage. He knows forcing his team to integrate will receive opposition from the players, their parents and the entire community, but he is not afraid to take a stand for what he believes is right. His courage to defy the social norms eventually trickles down to his team. By the end of training camp, his team makes the same decision to be courageous and remain friends at school where integration is wildly unpopular. While Coach Boone’s attitude had a positive impact on his players, in the WorldCom fraud, Bernie Ebbers’ fear of not meeting earnings had a negative impact on the organization. His subordinates adopted his attitude, and their lack of courage to question Ebbers’ intentions also trickled down the corporate ladder.

“You know, sometimes all you need is 20 seconds of insane courage. Just literally 20 seconds of embarrassing bravery. And I promise you, something great will come of it.” — We Bought a Zoo

In a video we watched about the WorldCom fraud, the controller, David Myers, admits he did not understand the reasoning behind the entries CFO Scott Sullivan wanted him to make. His first instinct told him not to make the entries, but instead of questioning Sullivan, he made the entries. If he had the “20 seconds of insane courage” mentioned in We Bought a Zoo, maybe he would have done things differently and stopped WorldCom’s fraud.

"People are always asking me, how is it that firefighters run into a burning building when everyone else is running out? Well, Jack, you answered that question by saving another man's life. Your courage is the answer." — Chief Kennedy in Ladder 49

A firefighter shows the utmost bravery when he enters a burning building. This courage to go against the grain can also be seen in the corporate world. For instance, whistle blowers like Cynthia Cooper at WorldCom and Sherron Watkins at Enron are brave enough to "run into a burning building." While others ignore the ongoing corrupt practices, whistle blowers bring the practices to light in order to resolve the situation.

"It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to your enemies, but a great deal more to stand up to your friends." — Dumbledore in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

As Dumbledore says, one of the most difficult things to do is stand up to your friends. We want to be accepted, especially by our peers. The fear of what will happen if we stand up to our friends often holds us back from doing what is right. From studying Enron’s downfall, we learned that the lead Arthur Andersen audit partner, David Duncan, developed close relationships with the executives at Enron. Out of fear of damaging those relationships, he found it difficult to stop the questionable accounting methods they used.

People judge us by our actions, not our intentions. In an ethical dilemma, we may know what we are supposed to do, but due to a lack of courage, we do not always act accordingly. Being courageous is a choice in itself. We can choose to be brave and act on our intentions, or we can choose to cower in fear and ignore our instinct to do what is right. In the end, it all comes down to a question: “Do we have the '20 seconds of courage’ to do what is right?”

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  1. I really enjoyed your group’s presentation yesterday on courage. I think it was a good capstone to the course and explored many of the different topics we have touched on in this course. As you stated, people recognize ethical dilemmas, may have an ethical judgment on how to react, but situational constraints or other factors leads to unethical behavior. Those with courage, however, are led to behave in an ethical manner and their judgment matches their behavior.

    One of my group members is reading a book on Cynthia Cooper, so we have focused on her courage throughout the course. She had every reason to not whistle blow, she was the primary wage earner for her family, the exposure would lead to many losing their jobs, etc. Yet these situational constraints did not affect her judgment and behavior. Cynthia displayed 20 seconds (and more) of courage and acted in the right manner.

  2. Last year I wrote my final audit paper on Betty Vinson, the accounting manager at WorldCom who was asked to reclassify reserve accounts to cover line costs. Betty knew this was wrong and questioned her boss, but eventually succumbed to the pressure she felt and made the adjustments. Finally, she was so distraught, she wrote up her resignation letter. Unfortunately, she let her bosses talk her into staying. I would say she had “10 seconds” of courage, enough to come to her senses and begin the process of disassociating with the organization. But she lacked the courage to follow through. Now, Betty was faced with other pressures, like providing for her family and attempting to secure another job. But like Laura said, people judge us by our actions, not our intentions.

  3. I would say courage has been the main takeaway point from our class. From Enron to World Com, we have learned the importance of courage. The importance to stand for what is right because it is right. Not only have we learned the long term consequences for a lack of courage to stand against wrongdoing, but many speakers throughout the course have incorporated the need to be courageous in their messages. Mr. Owens mentioned it in his discussion of cowboy ethics. He explained that cowboys had “the try”, meaning they had courage to do what was right and to the best of their abilities. Professor Roach used it in his discussion of the Aggie Honor Code and stressed the importance of not tolerating bad decisions. Dr. Nixon told us stories, one where courage was exhibited, one where it was not. In all of the cases and stories that we have learned in the last few weeks, being courageous had fewer, less severe consequences. Thanks for reminding the class of the importance of courage.

  4. Your group did a wonderful job on the presentation. I think we all enjoyed how you related popular movie scenes to the cases we have learned about in class. We have learned about all the different ways people calculate how to make an ethical decision. But as your group has shown, it doesn’t matter why or how you make an ethical decision. What matters is if you have the courage to actually carry that decision through and not waver. In his presentation, Professor Roach also focused on courage, saying that courage is the only way we can uphold our Aggie Honor Code even after we graduate.

  5. It is interesting how certain themes come up repeatedly in the ethics group discussions. I really enjoyed your group’s presentation, Laura. You did a good job tying the movie clips into the different events we have discussed in class. Also, your blog reminds me of a question that was brought up in class: “Can fictional characters be ethical role models?” The characters in these scenes were definitely courageous, while the people brought down in the scandals discussed (WorldCom, Enron, etc) didn’t show courage. Maybe fictional characters are better role models than actual people.

  6. Laura,
    I really liked your group’s presentation today as well as the points you make in this post. It seems to me, that we can learn as much as possible about ethics and ethical decision making, but really the key to any sort of ethics is the action that is paired with the decision to be ethical. That is why it is called decision “making”. In order to “make” a decision, this requires some sort of action on the person making the decision. He or she must act on what she decides.

    The biggest obstacle for action is that of courage. The point in your post that rings the most true to me is the 20 seconds of courage. Sometimes that 20 seconds is all that it takes to do the right thing and can change the course of the future. If any of the people you mentioned in your post had taken that leap of courage, even for 20 seconds, the future of those companies, and how the various frauds played out, could have been drastically different.

    We can learn all we want about ethics, and know in your heart the right thing to do, but without courage it can be to no avail. This is a takeaway that I will remember throughout my career.

  7. I agree with everyone above saying they enjoyed you and your group’s presentation. I also really liked how you used popular movies to show acts of courage. I feel these days most people focus too much on the negative sides on movies (violence, vulgar language, etc.) while undermining the fact that most movies have a really positive side as well, like your group pointed out in your presentation. I especially liked how you showed there was more than one form of courage. Courage can mean so many different things to different people, but regardless, it’s still an important trait to have.

  8. “We do not believe people set out to be unethical people. Unethical actions often result from a lack of courage to do what is right.”

    For me, this thought really sums up the importance of an ethics class like Dr. Shaub’s. By the end of the course, we know all sorts of ethical terminology, different means of decision making (duties vs. consequences, virtue-based ethics), and real-world cases of ethical delimmas. The final, and most important, step after all of this is having the courage to actually act on what we have learned. As we learned in the Hunt-Vitell model of decision making, there are several steps that lead up to the actual action we commit. Before behavior, there is recognition, judgment, intention, and THEN behavior. And as Laura said in this blog: “People judge us by our actions, not our intentions.”

  9. I enjoyed your presentation because it brought the class closer to how movies that we all love really can impact us in a way that we never thought possible. As your group was giving the presentation and as I read over your blog, I could help but imagine this quote by Julius Caesar: “Cowards die many times before their deaths. The valiant never taste of death but once.” In this scenario Julius Caesar is talking about the aspect that mon people fear death even though death will come when it wants to. In relation to ethics, we as auditors and as public servants die many times when we choose not to stand up for the unethical actions occurring around us. This quote captures that brillantly and if we are able to understand the severity our actions, even if they are little, may have on the general public, we may be able to live an ethical life.

  10. Laura, I (like everyone else that commented) really enjoyed your group’s presentation. I do think that courage (or the lack thereof) was what determined the outcome of many of the real-life ethical situations that we have discussed this semester in class. I’d like to bring another topic to the discussion to see what you all think about this topic. I think it’s hard for kids growing up these days to find examples of truly courageous people in real-life situations, which may be a problem for our future generations. You turn on the news, and what you see is disasters, homicides, divorces, celebrities acting like idiots, and other such nonsense. There are lots of courageous people out there, they just don’t usually make the front page. Either they’re too humble to talk about their courageous act, or the media views the story as “fluff” and chooses not to cover it. When these stories of courageous acts are reported on the news, it’s usually covered in a short amount of time, and isn’t discussed again. Many men in my family are military veterans or currently serve as police officers or fire fighters, so I grew up with lots of positive role models. However, I am worried about our future generations. I think our current environment makes it hard for them to find real-world examples of courageous people that they can look up to. I truly think that character is “who you are when no one is looking.” In a society that glorifies and exaggerates bad behaviors, how can we get people to see the importance of courage?

  11. I also really enjoyed your group’s presentation topic. Even though it seems so simple to have courage, it is extremely difficult to act in the ethically correct way when it comes time to make that decision. When I was making an ethical decision my sophomore year of college, I did not have the courage to do the right thing initially. I told someone else what happened, and she ended up doing the right thing for me. I wouldn’t consider myself an unethical person, and I knew what I should have done, but when it came down to it, I lacked courage. It is so true what you said that “People judge us by our actions, not our intentions.”

  12. I was able to go to dinner with Jim Owen, one of the guest speakers for our class this semester that talked on Cowboy Ethics. When asked which of his 10 Principles (on the card he handed out to the entire audience) was the most important to live by, he responded that the most important principle was to live each day with courage.

    Before this class, I don’t think I fully realized just how important courage really is. But after your presentation and the many examples of frauds that could have been prevented by 20 seconds of courage, I feel more prepared and empowered to muster that courage when my turn comes.

    In case anyone is interested, here is Jim Owen’s website:
    http://www.cowboyethics.org/

  13. Courage definitely has a strong effect on outcomes. Because the auditors at Arthur Andersen didn’t have the courage to stand up to the fraudulent accounting entries at Enron, Arthur Andersen has lost its elite status and a lot of revenue. Timothy Rigas didn’t have the courage to stand up to his father about his withdrawals and ended up in jail. Unfortunately, courage doesn’t always have positive consequences. Cynthia Cooper’s husband lost his job, along with many others. It’s definitely easy to say that we need to have courage, but it’s usually not easy to follow through with action.

  14. I found this presentation and topic very interesting. I think the idea of courage is one of the most important and overlooked reasons for ethical decision-making. It’s amazing to see how many people will neglect being courageous when times get tough.

    This past student body election was very volatile and malicious. I know most people in the class were on their internships, but there were many embarrassing actions candidates made that had never been seen at A&M before. While you cannot go back and change the past, I have found it important to evaluate the decisions made by others during these events.

    I watched numerous people who were supposed to be some of the greatest student leaders at this university tuck their tails between their legs and run away when confronted with standing up for what is right or protecting themselves. I know I had to make some very hard decisions, and it’s said that others would not do the same. Subsequently, these people have lost the respect of many of their peers.

    It was never a matter of not being able to make the hard decisions. It was a matter of not wanting to make that decision.

  15. I agree with Laura in the fact that ethics comes down to courage. Do you have the courage to do what’s right? It is very similar to the saying that “depth of character is realized under pressure.” The moment you are put under pressure, is when your true colors will show. Is it in your character to do the right thing which requires courage, or do you play it “safe?” It is extremely important in any profession to know your views and where you stand on a subject. It is easy to “go with the flow” but sometimes the flow is in the wrong direction, like WorldCom. You have to have a backbone to know when to say no and to actually say it. Courage is standing up for yourself even when no one else will.

    I also agree with you that there are many forms of courage and it’s up to each person to decide how courageous they want to be. (you did great, too!)

  16. One of my favorite poems by Robert Frost, in which I discussed in our group for the weekly reading assignment, is The Road Not Taken. I think the underlying theme in this poem is courage. Therefore, there is such a strong connection between this poem and the ideas portrayed in these movie clips. We Bought a Zoo speaks about having 20 seconds of courage. I cannot help but picture the traveler in the poem standing at the diverging paths. He used his 20 seconds of courage to take “the one less traveled by”. I think choosing the courageous, right path is difficult because we cannot see what lies ahead. What is on the other side of the road less traveled? What will happen if I stand up to others and make the ethical choice? It requires an incredible amount of faith to muster up the courage to move forward into the unknown. But, as the poem says, it can make all the difference.

  17. I really like Laura’s comments on the Ladder 49 quote. I think it is the perfect analogy of courage. Courage is running one way while everyone else is running the opposite direction.

    Whistle-blowing is also a great picture of this because it is very difficult to be the only one arguing that something is being done in an unethical and illegal way. Cynthia Cooper and Sharon Watkins, I would imagine, had many friends at WorldComm and Enron that they had made over the years. While they felt the duty and responsibility to report what the unethical people were doing, they knew that doing so would hurt their friends as well. They knew that they might even lose a lot of them.

    That’s what I think makes courage so hard. We are either afraid for our lives, like the firefighter example, or afraid of the horrible outlook people will have on us if we do come forward with the truth. Like we learned in class: “The person telling you what you don’t want to hear is the person telling you the truth.” That is why I have the utmost respect for those that do have the courage to stand up for what is right.

  18. I think that is a great takeaway for the class. The question isn’t whether or not someone is ethical necessarily, but whether they have the courage to do what they know in their heart is right. It is very easy to come up with the ethical answer when you are facing an ethical dilemma, but will you have those “20 seconds of insane courage” to actually act in the way you know you should?

  19. Although I am not an avid Harry Potter enthusiast, I think that Dumbledore really hit home with his quote about bravery. Many times in my life I have felt adequately equipped with bravery and courage to stand up against those who i have deemed my “enemy”. In college is where i have found it difficult to confront or approach a friend about something. I am convinced this is as a result of either two things. The first is that i value their friendship too much to wager damaging the bond over a conflict. The second reason that bravery seems less available in my confrontation with friends is that I underestimate the importance of holding friends accountable and being there for them when they are faltering. It is critical i learn to generate courage in these situations because relationships with lifelong companions and friends are either lost or strengthened in such encounters. Hopefully it will be the latter.

  20. Going off of Kristin’s comment, I love that the Robert Frost poem perfectly parallels many of the topics we covered in class. I, too, get the visual of a man mustering his 20 seconds of courage to take the road less traveled. This courage is very important in huge, life-altering decisions, such as those made by Cynthia Cooper and Sherron Watkins at their respective firms. However, sometimes it is even more important to utilize that courage in the seemingly insignificant choices we make every day. Choosing not to lie to your parents about how late you got home last night. Saying no to a fellow student who wants to copy your homework assignment. These small decisions that we often come across require courage just like the major decisions. I believe that being courageous in daily choices helps to develop character and integrity in the long run.

  21. I really enjoyed y’alls group presentation. It was encouraging to see movies that tackle subjects other than sex and violence. Seeing as how I absolutely love Harry Potter I was excited to see a movie clip from this series. What Dumbledore says here about standing up to your friends is one of the hardest things to do. Our clients will most likely become our friends out in the “real world.” To be able to stand up to them and put your foot down is somehing that will be difficult to do but we are all going to have to do it at some point. It worked out well for Neville in this case, but will we all get the same applause and recognition he did? Or will they make us be sorry for standing up to them?

  22. Thank you for putting this topic of courage into such tangible terms in your presentation. So often we do not stop to think what we will do when faced with difficult decisions that require courage. I love the example of Dumbledore. He was right in saying that it is so hard to stand up to someone who is your friend. But I believe that if you really care about someone, you will take courage and make a stand.

    It was convicting to me how much courage many of these whistleblowers had when exposing fraud within their company. I especially saw this through people like Cynthia Cooper, who was the bread winner of her family and had everything to lose. As Professor Roach said, it is so easy to sit back and do nothing when you see unethical behavior happening. Often you won’t even get hurt by choosing to just ignore it, but are you being ethical when you know something is wrong and yet choose to do nothing about it?

  23. I find this subject very intriguing, and this is because of its sheer importance. Courage is hard to develop, but is incredibly useful. I think back to Professor Roach’s discussion in our ethics class. What good comes from tolerating unethical practices among others? Sure, you will be avoiding stepping on their toes, which will ensure a nice happy-go-lucky relationship with those people. But true relationships undergo struggles and hardships. There is not much room to grow in the absence of these, because in the absence of these, you will only touch the surface of what keeps your relationships strong and healthy.

    Now for these struggles to come about, you need confrontation of some sort. Which usually stems from courage. Courage to step up and say something that may not fall all rosy upon the ears of the other. So in the cases of the whistleblowers which Laura mentioned, justice came as a result of the courageous actions taken by these women. They risked a lot, but uncovered a whole lot more. Courage is what we all need to ensure we and others are making the correct choices in life, or at least the ethical ones.

  24. I really enjoyed this blog and your group’s presentation! I think y’all nailed the topic and I especially agree with the last example from Harry Potter. I think it takes the most courage to stand up to your friends or family. I feel that in those situations we have the most to lose and it can be extremely frightening to even think about weighing the consequences in those situations. I think our ethics class has given us a great foundation of thought provoking examples with which we can gain courage to honor the duties we have.

  25. I agree that courage is a neccesary component of ethical decision-making, but I think it has to be paired up with competence to be used effectively. In several of the ethical cases we discussed in class, people acted in ways that proved they had no understanding of the consequences. I think if people were more aware of the consequences of these actions, it would make courages actions much more prevalent in the marketplace. People need to have a broad ethical knowledge base to truly believe that their courage is worth it.

  26. Another Dumbledore quote that I love is “It is our choices…that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.” I think this quote really shows that while many of the people we talked to might be competent in their jobs, they may not have made the best ethical decisions. I believe the decisions we make in our career can greatly outweigh how competent we may be at our job. When Mike Burwell talked about the star employee that made a bad decision, it made me really think about what was more important, our actions or our abilities, and i think this quote gave me the answer.

  27. I think there are many people that believe they are ethical, but when it comes down to a difficult situation, many will make the wrong decision because they lack courage. It is important for people to practice having courage. Courage is not something that comes naturally, it is difficult to obtain and takes time and effort. Choosing the ethical path is usually the harder of the two paths and for the most part will require a great amount of courage to follow through with that choice.

  28. I think that courage is the simple most important theme that you can take take away from this class. In WorldCom we got to see one of the greatest examples of courage when Cynthia Cooper was brave enough to go against her superiors and do what was right. She was the sole provider for her family and despite the possible she stood up and blew the whistle on WorldCom.

    On the flip side of that, we also saw the damage that a lack of courage can bring in the case of Enron. David Duncan knew that Enron wasn’t reporting accurate financial numbers, but he feared that if he stood up and told Enron that what they were doing was wrong he would lose them as a client and more than likely his job given the size of the client. This case hit close to home for me not just because he was an Aggie but because I felt certain pressures in the Big 4 during my internship and I was only an intern. I can’t even imagine the pressures that he was facing at the position that he was in.

  29. I enjoyed the movie clips for your group’s presentation! I loved how it brought to life different movies that most people in the class and that each one was related to a real life case that we discussed in class. I remember watching the “We Bought A Zoo” clip in the movie theater and pulling out the notes application on my phone and writing down the “20 seconds of courage” quote. Clearly it made an impact on me in the moving theater just as it did to your group!

    It reminded me of the talk that Jim Owens gave about Cowboy Ethics. He discussed a vast majority about how cowboys have courage and that is what gives them the courage to be ethical. He described the word “try” as a noun/adjective instead of a verb. This was interesting because he claimed that a cowboy could have “try”.

    I have heard the quote before by Mark Twain that “courage is resistance to absence of fear.” What matters is not that you have fear, but how you deal with it and what the root of that fear is. Being an ethical person requires courage, and I pray I will display it throughout my business career!

  30. I understand the tendency to go with the flow and not against it. It’s comfortable, safe, and we can easily project the outcome. Most of us, if not all of us, enjoy predictability and for things to stay the same. We don’t like change, to feel uncertain, or the uneasiness of a new situation.

    In saying that, I’m not really quite sure what prompts some people to act courageously, while others do not. I think it’s a combination of factors. Some people act courageously out of fear of consequences, while others may act out of a sense of duty or virtue. Ultimately, I think acting out of duty or virtue makes these decisions much easier on the individual. They are expected and compelled to act in a certain manner, and any other decision but the correct one is unacceptable. It’s easy for us to forget what our morals are when pressure is placed on our careers, friendships, and one’s future.

    I think one thing that really helps an individual is the upbringing and coaching from one’s parents. It’s a critical learning period for children and with all the issues we have in our society today, it makes me wonder if parents are really doing their jobs and setting a solid example for their children to follow.

  31. Great presentation! I really liked the clips your group chose to get your message across. Courage is necessary as a professional but also just as regular people. Jonathan has mentioned being comfortable and I agree that courage is linked with comfort. If we feel uneasy about doing what is right or about the affects our actions will have we tend to avoid that option and come up with something else or do nothing at all. It all comes back to our analysis of the situation, will this really be so uncomfortable in the long run? Or will it just be uncomfortable until tomorrow? I think people tend to focus too much on the ‘here and now’ instead of the ‘there and later’, which to me is the most important.

    Each of the whistle blowers we discussed in class had courage and were willing to take the hard road, whether it made them uncomfortable or not, to seek out the truth in their organizations. Without their courage to act, where would we (as accountants/professionals) be today?

  32. I really enjoyed this presentation in class as well as your excerpt. It gave me a different perspective on decision making and the importance and necessity to have courage in this world. Many people blame environmental upbringing, hardships, or other factors to be the reason for their unethical actions, but I agree with you that they lacked the courage to make the right decision. The difference, however, is that some people may have to have more courage than others to make the same ethical decision. It may be normal and even encouraged in their environment to make a certain unethical decision, and these folks are the ones who need to have more courage than those surrounded by good people.

  33. “Unethical actions often result from a lack of courage to do what is right.” This quote really hits home to me when I think of how absolutely necessary courage really is. There are countless examples where this quote is relevant: David Meyers, Jeff Skilling, David Duncan, Andy Fastow, Ken Lay, etc. Each of these people had an opportunity to do what is right and each of them looked the other way. Courage requires strength, willpower, integrity and values. How different would the Enron story be if David Duncan had said no to Enron’s deceptive accounting practices? How many jobs could have been saved? Would the Company still exist today? Courage requires you to ask why and not stop until you get an answer; and then finally, to take action if the answer is not acceptable. Having courage is tough, but it is an invaluable trait to have.

  34. I, along with the other 31 comments above me, really enjoyed your presentation. I feel like courage was kind of an underlying theme of our class this semester. Like Kristin said during your presentation, courage is a choice we can make. It is empowering to know that we are in control when faced with an ethical dilemma. I hope that we are all able to choose courage when the time comes.

  35. Laura,

    I just wanted to say that I have enjoyed the discussions that we have had in our Ethics Accountability Group the past five weeks. Like you mentioned in your post, our final presentation encompassed the prevalent theme in most of our discussions: courage.

    I once came across a quote that says “Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point”. I feel like this quote sums up courage as it relates to ethics. Throughout our ethics course, Dr. Shaub, as well as some of our guest speakers, have mentioned that it is important that we have a set of values, a “moral code” to live by. These values are what we as individuals ultimately need to fall back on when faced with a difficult decision. The decision you make might go against what others want you to do, however it takes courage to stand by your values even when faced with a difficult situation.

  36. Laura you have a great blog and I commend you for your work.

    I feel courage can be very ambiguous because there are so many different types of courage. People aren’t born courageous but their actions make them courageous, whether it is just for a moment. I agree with Laura that people judge us by our actions and not our intentions. Sometimes our intentions start off virtuous but with time our actions can be contradicting. I also believe admitting when you made a mistake takes courage and it is just as important as standing up to someone.

  37. I think this topic perfectly sums up the entire class and a main point that we learned throughout the minimester. Courage shows us that we are in charge of our decisions and we can’t use the excuse that we were forced to do something. It is also amazing to me the different types of courage that can come up, in the instances in the movies it was standing up to your friends or simply asking someone out on a date. I mostly liked the clip from “We Bought a Zoo” that shows all you need is 20 seconds of courage. Thinking about it, it really is true. All you need to do is have those 20 seconds to get your action out and the rest will not necessarily be easy but at least easier than the initial burst you need.

    Courage is something we have on a daily basis and should continue on to our professional careers.

  38. The central theme of courage throughout our ethics course has definitely allowed me to understand what it takes to make ethical decisions. When we think of the accomplishments of the great leaders in our history, courage would most certainly be a characteristic of their actions. Courage is definitely not something that is easy to attain or act on. As you mentioned, peer pressure can sometimes be the biggest deterrent to acting courageously. Courage is a mindset that must be ingrained in your values in order to be executed in decision making.

  39. One thing that ethics class has taught me is the concept of courage. I knew what courage meant before, but I never really thought about its implications. The quote that sticks out to me the most is about having 20 seconds of insane courage. I think most of us are reaching points in our life where we have enough confidence to have the courage to do what’s right. The ideas I’ve learned in Shaub’s ethics class have really made me challenge myself to have more courage.

  40. Is there subjectivity to what courage entails? How do we describe courage? Is it being steadfast and proactive in one’s own beliefs, or just those seen as universally virtuous? Courage could be labeled broadly on all sorts of people with the former. I think being awareness of context is an important part of looking at ethics.

  41. Courage or the lack of it, is an underlining theme in just about every case or scenario we have heard thoughout this class. While not always shining as some of those cases, courage is required in your everyday life one way or another. It takes courage to tell your roommate to be quiet when you are studying. It takes courage to stay in and study on a Friday night when all your friends are out drinking and having fun at northgate. Both of these are just commons every day events that display an act of courage on the Part of someone. I googled the definition of courage and one of the answers said, “The quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc”. In every single case of fraud we studied there was at least one, usually more, person that could’ve displayed courage by saying what was going on, or telling someone no. In every one of us students’ futures we will face several moments where courage is needed and it’s important for us to stand up and show that we are fulfilled with it. If this class has taught me anything, it’s that courage is a requirement for not a only a good professional, but also a good human being.


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