Motivational Monday #2: 7 is Greater Than 4

Happy Motivational Monday! Welcome to this new, inspirational tradition. Enjoy!

Fear and courage are intertwined. They are Siamese twins. They are your fingers stuck together after you get a little too messy with the superglue. Yet, they have to be, and Nelson Mandela tells us why.

“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it”

mandela courage Courage is defined by the fears that we face. It is seen and realized in the after-thought, when you look behind you and see that you have climbed the hill that used to be in front of you, or scaled the brick wall that had stood formidable in your path. It is noticed when you can now glance around you, freed from one burden, and feel strong because you did what you thought you could not do. You trusted yourself.

We wake up each day with the knowledge that there are dead ends we have to face. There are hills to make it over, and tall maze walls that stretch into the sky that we must scale. As much as anyone hates to admit it, these obstacles are utterly petrifying. They are immobilizing. They can make you want to crawl back into the hollow of your bed, shut your eyes, and wish them away.

Yet deep inside, you know you cannot do that. On the contrary, you must do the exact opposite. You must harness that challenge, and that fear, and beat it. It sounds easy on paper, I know. It sounds like a matter of buckling a few straps, suiting up, and performing a quick rock climb over that maze wall. Straight shot, no big deal.

In an ideal world, each and every one of us would do just that, yet I want to remind you that you are a human. Everyone around you is a human. And humans, whether we like it or not, are fearful. It does not matter what our fears are, because they are different for us all. They may be mental, they may be physical. They may manifest themselves in action or in objects. The one thing that ties all of our collective fears together is that in order to overcome them, we need courage, as Nelson Mandela articulates.

Courage is a common word. We hear it all the time, in every context imaginable. Fear, on the other hand, is the Voldemort of words. It is the antithesis of courage. It is denounced, often seen as a weakness. It is the-word-which-shall-not-be-named.

But it’s there. It’s there and it’s very real, although, like its counterpart, is very different for each of us. Nelson Mandela tells us this in his quote. No matter how we look at it, he says, fear will always be present.

Sometimes it seems so astronomical that we just don’t want to face it. Those fears, my friends, are our opportunities. They are the definition of our courage.

Part of being courageous is seeing beyond what is in front of us. It is knowing what you want, and then persisting until you reach it. You don’t need me to tell you that it’s not easy. You’ll probably come out of it exhausted, and you’ll probably hit roadblocks as you go. You’ll stumble. You’ll trip. You’ll fall. But, as the saying goes, “Fall down seven times, stand up eight.” Each time you stand up, you are one step closer to winning and to reaching your goal.

fall down get up quoteMandela reminds us that we must be triumphant in those little successes. Together, each one brings you closer to what you want, making you courageous.

On this Monday, I challenge you to remember what you want. Look long term into the future, and tap into your goals. Do as Eleanor Roosevelt recommends, as she reminds us that “You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face.” If you do that, then you are achieving the triumph of which Mandela discusses, because you are challenging the hardest thing there is to challenge: yourself.

strength gain eleanor quote

Every challenge is beatable. Every goal can be reached, and every dream achieved with the correct attitude, and a little courage. Is it scary? Yes. Is it hard? Yes. Will you fall down? Yes. But, here’s my advice, my Monday Motivation: remember the numbers.

Life is an equation, if you look at it the right way. It is a combination of results that are created by the addition of one thing to your life, the subtraction of another, the multiplication of them as one, and the division of dichotomies.

We fall down seven times, stand up 8. Our successes, numerically, outnumber our roadblocks. It is a rule and a fact of life. You cannot doubt math, because math is a solid truth.

So let’s do the math problem Nelson Mandela shows us will always work: Let’s triumph over fear.

Quick! Do the math problems (I’m serious; print it out!):

  1. Circle the larger number on the number line: 4 or 7?

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10

  1. Count the number of letters in this word: Fear

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10

  1. Count the number of letters in this word: Courage

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10

  1. Which word from questions 2 and 3 (above) has more letters?
  2. Fear
  3. Courage

Answer key: 1. 7 2. 4 3. 7 4. B

What can we conclude?:

7 is greater than 4 (Question #1), and courage has 7 letters (Question 7). Fear has 4 letters (Question #2). Therefore, we can prove that courage is greater than fear. Every time. The math tells us so.

So this week, look at your challenges as a means to triumph- take Nelson Mandela’s advice. Face your fears, conquer your obstacles. Always be courageous, because you deserve it. Trust yourself, and if you have trouble, trust the math. 7 is greater than 4. Your courage is greater than your fear.


Go out there and be courageous! Do it for yourself! Do it so that you can look behind you when the sun sets each day, sending off its brilliant colors, and say, “I have triumphed.” Do it so that you can wake up in the morning to the sun rising yet again, flipping the switch on the hues of your life, and say, “I will triumph again today.”

Happy Motivational (and slightly mathematical) Monday!




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