POSITIVE TRAIT THESAURUS

COURAGEOUS



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HELPFUL TIP:

Characters with this positive attribute will be extra sensitive to certain emotions, so think about how events might specifically trigger feelings in a way that elevates or lowers their moods or causes moral dilemmas to form—whichever best fits your story goals. Try giving a supporting character a negative trait that acts as an opposite of this attribute, causing frustration, disillusionment, or even emotional volatility that leads to poor decisions and mistakes.
DEFINITION:
Possessing the mental or moral resilience to face opposition, danger, or difficulties despite one’s fear

SIMILAR ATTRIBUTES:
Brave, dauntless, heroic, valiant

POSSIBLE CAUSES:
The desire to honor role models by living up to their moral standard and/or sacrifice
The belief that one must not let fear stand in the way of what is right
Wanting to protect others from harm or suffering
Having a strong moral code
Believing one person can make a difference and the future is determined by one’s actions

ASSOCIATED BEHAVIORS AND ATTITUDES:
Doing what is right instead of what is easy
Facing danger, uncertainty, or hardship with strength
Being strong for others
Being confident
Standing up for those who are not equipped to stand up for themselves
Stepping up when leadership is needed
Facing fear to achieve a goal
Understanding one’s shortcomings
Enduring pain or suffering with a show of strength
Telling the truth when it’s important
Speaking up when others stay silent
Facing the unknown
Showing compassion and empathy for others
Putting oneself in danger so others will be safe
Following one’s beliefs even when it’s dangerous to do so
Living one’s life according to one’s beliefs
Having a strong sense of one’s purpose
Believing in justice and equality
Determination
Having a strong mental focus when it’s needed
Having high stamina and perseverance
Accepting responsibility for one’s actions
Being willing to step outside of one’s comfort zone
Giving someone a second chance, or asking for a second chance
Not being defeated by rejection or failure
Having strong convictions
Knowing when to speak and when to stay silent
Being in control of one’s emotions
Putting others before oneself
Focusing on the end goal; not allowing oneself to be sidetracked
Knowing what one believes and not allowing others to sway those beliefs
Resiliency; the ability to keep trying even after multiple failures

ASSOCIATED THOUGHTS:
Jon’s going to be devastated. But the news should come from me, not a stranger.
Mom and Dad might be disappointed, but this is something I need to do.
Mrs. Bloom shouldn’t treat Marc differently than me. I’m going to talk to her.
This isn’t exactly safe, but Rick’s sister is in there and someone’s got to get her out.
That kid is struggling in the current. I need to get out there now!

ASSOCIATED EMOTIONS:

POSITIVE ASPECTS:
Courageous characters will make up for what is lacking in any circumstance. After reflection or a moral assessment, they will step up, no matter the odds, because they know that it’s the right thing to do. People who show courage have a core of inner strength and a strong moral compass. They’re willing to put the welfare of others first when it counts most. They feel fear, but can master it, and do not allow it to alter their decisions. Characters who are courageous lead by example, even if they are unsuited to a task. Others are inspired by their courage and often strive to honor it by showing courage themselves.

NEGATIVE ASPECTS:
Courage, while commendable, is not always smart. Characters with this trait sometimes don’t see beyond the immediate situation to the long-term impacts of a choice or action. When pausing to think might be the best course of action, courageous characters can be impulsive and respond emotionally, letting their desire to act override wisdom.

EXAMPLE FROM LITERATURE:
Frodo, the simple hobbit from The Lord of the Rings trilogy, is the least suited for a dangerous mission against a deadly, powerful foe. Yet his willingness to set forth provides an incredible lesson in courage. Lacking the strength of humans, the battle training of dwarves, and the magic of wizards, Frodo makes his way to Mount Doom to destroy the one ring before it can send Middle Earth into darkness. His fortitude and strength comes from within, and despite his fear, he ultimately saves the world. Other Examples from Literature and Film: Harry Potter (Harry Potter franchise), Herman Boone (Remember the Titans)

CHALLENGING SCENARIOS FOR CHARACTERS WITH THIS TRAIT:
Facing a situation where one has failed in the past
Dealing with a phobia
Having to choose between doing what’s right and doing what’s popular
Facing a decision that will mean life or death for someone else
Showing courage despite a hardship, disability, or great personal cost

TRAITS IN SUPPORTING CHARACTERS THAT MAY CAUSE CONFLICT: