Tag: Nelson Mandela

Courage: The Flip Side of Fear

On this day when we remember the brave men and women who died to secure our constitutional liberties, a post about courage (bravery, dauntlessness) seems more than appropriate. The fact that Bravery is heads on the coin where fear is tails might not be as welcome.
In an article on Literary Hub, another author introduced me to this phrase: “Fear and bravery are different sides of the same coin.”
Since I’ve chosen to be DAUNTLESS in 2017, I wanted to reject this simple assertion.

                               “I’m defeating and banishing fear from my heart, mind and life.”

Isn’t that what it means to be dauntless?

But according to Hala Alyan, maybe I’ve been going about this dauntless thing all wrong.

NO Fear

I’ve been working under the assumption that if I’m feeling afraid and anxious about something, I’m not being brave.

Which goes in the face of one of my favorite quotes from Mark Twain, Franklin Roosevelt and Nelson Mandela. Yes, it’s such a great thought that many people have reiterated it in their own words over the centuries.

To conquer my fears, I must continue to move forward through the fire I’m sure will burn me. The Dauntless jump off the train with abandon onto the platform near their living quarters.

They might have learned to be adrenaline junkies, but the first (dozen) times they jumped, their hearts, lungs and stomachs surely rebelled. Their brains wanted to draw back, play it safe, keep away from pain and injury.

Every time they successfully completed the jump, the Dauntless experienced a different sort of adrenaline rush. Rather than fear, anticipation welled in them. They had tricked their brain into enjoying the dangerous activity.

          Strange how terror and anticipation can provoke the same physical reactions in our mind and body.

But our soul knows the truth. It knows if we’re still afraid deep down or if we’ve overcome that particular anxiety.

Being Dauntless

Once we’ve mastered jumping off the train, it means we need to find a new terror to conquer.
Or not.

Does being dauntless mean a continual rush into situations that overwhelm our safety barriers? If we’re playing it safe, does it mean our dauntless spirit will starve to death?

Continual stress kills. And pumping adrenaline through our veins is exactly what stress does.
I don’t think it’s healthy to live on the edge where our bodies experience constant anxiety, fear or terror.
Being dauntless doesn’t mean becoming an adrenaline junkie and heading for an early grave. Either from a broken bungee line or a heart attack from too much stress.

                                               And dead is dead.

Dauntless me isn’t looking for death. But DM should be willing to stare death in the face.

In my world, that’s more the death of expectations, death of dreams and death of pride. If I write a young adult fantasy novel and no one wants to read it, that kills the part of me with a message for those readers.
But it doesn’t mean I’m not dauntless if I change genres.

If the nonfiction book doesn’t garner interest with publishers, will I self-publish it myself? If I believe in its message strongly enough, yes.

And if only a handful of people read it and it helps even one person, it has succeeded in the purpose I have for it. Yes, if the sales are this slow, there will be death to the dream of becoming a best-selling nonfiction author and sought-after speaker.

But it doesn’t mean I wasn’t dauntless in the moment-by-moment action of living out my calling to write words that encourage others.

It takes courage to face rejection and failure. But if Two Face can flip the coin, so can I.

Do you agree that courage and fear are sides of the same coin? How would you define courage?

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Welcome to a Writer’s World

Hello, reader. Welcome to the world of Sharon Lee Hughson, author of romance, young adult fantasy and women’s fiction.

I got side-tracked by Facebook when I sat down to write this post. It was a sad day when someone told me I had to join Facebook and start building an online presence.

I was comforted by this thought:

I decided to scan the images on Google for awhile and see if that would light the creative fire inside me. The truth is, I just needed to follow Louis L’amour’s advice:

Genius! I decided to use a bunch of these cool writer quotes and weave a post about what it’s like to be a writer. Isn’t that what all the readers wonder? If so, check out this post by author Jody Hedlund. A writer’s world might not be exactly like you think it is.

I immediately clicked on the quote that gives me permission to spend hours each day reading fiction books:

I adore reading. Not only does it get me out of rainy Oregon, but it crank-starts my own muse.

Then I came across this next meme. It explains exactly why I start a new project by writing the first scene and then the last scene.

I didn’t say they never changed. Most of the time, my beginning is the most rewritten, revised and edited part of every story I write.

Which is why this little quote jumped off the page at me:

Sure, you can call it genius as long as you don’t discount the hours of blood, sweat, tears, moods, frustration, and fears that motivated it.

And then there’s the idea that we like to live in a fantasy world. Ever wonder why? And it isn’t just because they know us there – or because it’s more fun there (even if both are true). How about because it’s a world of mulligans?

When I need encouragement to fight my way forward through another round of edits, and rejection letters keep filling my inbox, I remind myself:

Imagine that. I’ve typed several hundred words. What once was a blank blog post is now filled with life and color. It gives my lips reason to smile. So I do.

Because, no matter what else happens, one of my favorite Nelson Mandela quotes always rings true:

I sat. I wrote. What more is there to a writer’s world?

Seldom is Heard an Encouraging Word – Hear some Here!

“It always seems impossible until it’s done.” Nelson Mandela

DO IT Quote

“Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength. ” Corrie Ten Boom

Maya Angelou quote“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” C.S. Lewis.

Negative Thoughts








“Every mountaintop is within reach if you just keep climbing.”  Barry Finlay

I hope these quotes inspire you to encourage others today.

What are your favorite inspirational quotes?


An Icon Passes

It’s been more than two years since I researched the life and times of human rights activist, Nelson Mandela. Some of his quotes inspire me still.

In fact, reading about his prison experiences reminded me sharply of the Apostle Paul.  They both spent years in prison, but while they were there they refused to give up hope. In fact, they wrote letters encouraging others to keep fighting the good fight.

Mandela’s story has a happier ending. I was inspired by the movie Invictus to discover the actual truth behind the man. It was a fascinating, enlightening, heartening, inspiring and infuriating journey.


I’m not a history buff. I had heard Mandela’s name bandied about, but I didn’t know him from Malcolm X in the scope of beliefs and actions.

He was called the Black Pimpernel because he kept managing to disappear whenever the authorities closed in on his location. As a literary nerd, the allusion  to The Scarlet Pimpernel grabbed my attention.


Injustice happens everywhere. If I spent all my thoughts and energy learning about the various examples of man’s inhumanity to his fellow man, I’d have nothing left for anything else. Further, I’d be so depressed or enraged; it wouldn’t be healthy.

Why had I never connected the dots that apartheid stemmed from the Dutch colonization of South Africa? The same movement toward colonizing the far reaches of the world that led to the birth of the United States of America hatched tyranny in many other places.


Forgiveness, or the lack thereof, is a huge problem. If religious people with different beliefs could truly practice it, wars between factions could cease.

This is what Mandela embodies in my own mind. He walked out of prison and chose to forgive those who put him there. Did this mean he suddenly endorsed their viewpoint? No.

He understood that the future can look to the past for assistance but it cannot hold onto the grievances of the past. He didn’t want to kill his enemies; he wanted to learn to peacefully coexist with them.

Some ideologies had to die on both sides for this peace to be won. Compromise doesn’t have to be a bad thing. If Mandela had come at his opponents with guns of retribution blazing, all would have been lost. By being a man of character, he won the respect of his adversaries and eventually of an entire nation. Perhaps, an entire world.


Role models abound. Down the street, across the country and in the far corners of the world. The ones who make the news win the Nobel Peace Prize. The rest of them have an even greater reward waiting in eternity.

Mandela is hardly the first person to suffer imprisonment for disagreeing with the powers that be. He is not unique in continuing to be revered during his absence from society. Many have suffered the same fate.

He inspired me because his wisdom was coupled with humility. He was adored by his fellow countrymen and feared by those who supported the fallen regime. He used his power to unite a country.

Old hatreds die hard. I pray Mandela’s ideology will continue in his homeland. I believe it will because true heroes inspire others to follow in their footsteps


As every good American can claim, I am a melting pot of cultures. I have ancestors that sailed on the Mayflower and ones who walked the Trail of Tears. Their pain and discovery opened the door into the world where I now enjoy freedoms they died pursuing.

Mandela was a product of colonizing forces, as well. His tribal ancestors were driven away and oppressed beneath apartheid. Fortunately, he believed in freedom and that true freedom meant forgiving his oppressors and learning to work toward a common goal.

What gives us the right to walk into a society different than ours and decide it needs our assistance? What makes one culture superior to another? Who can judge such a thing?

Change is inevitable and most of the time, it’s for the better. It’s one thing to offer education and assistance to a culture that is struggling to survive because it lacks the knowledge to effectively utilize its resources. Forcing someone to yield to your ideologies is a whole different can of tyranny.
















Related Posts:

Nelson Mandela, Rest in Peace

Long Live Peace. Long Live Nelson Mandela