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Winners of Courage Prizes

By on October 20, 2010 – 11:12 am  One Comment

Robert Biswas-Diener, Ph.D., is a researcher, coach, and adventurer with expertise in happiness and strengths psychology. He is author of 4 books including recently released Practicing Positive Psychology Coaching: Assessment, Activities and Strategies for Success. Full bio.

His articles are here.

Earlier this summer, I invited nominations for Courage Prizes. Here are the winners of the three prizes.

Courage in the Face of Physical Risk

Looking over the cliff

Looking over the cliff

Our 250 dollar winner is Laurie Klein. On May 29th Laurie was bicycling with friends when one of them flew off a cliff, was knocked unconscious, and landed face down in the river below. Laurie climbed and jumped down after her, dragging her friend to safety and preventing her from drowning.

Only later did Laurie realize she had shattered her own wrist, and broken her fibula and heel during the rescue. Many people would argue that Laurie simply did what any friend would do. But consider all the options: Laurie could have stood by the cliff and panicked, she could have climbed very slowly and carefully down to the river, she could have tried to flag down a passing car for help. Instead, she put herself at physical risk to save her friend.

Courage in the Face of Social Risk

We also have two winners of 100 dollar iTunes gift cards.

In one case a woman faced an incredible amount of uncertainty, social isolation and discomfort to start a school for underprivileged children in New Orleans.

In the other instance, an English woman who made a lifetime habit of passively giving in to other people’s wishes– and sometimes abuse– finally stood up for herself.

My gratitude to everybody who submitted a story of courage.



Dangerous risk courtesy of

One Comment »

  • What an amazing account of true courage and testimony to our incredible human resilience, thanks in the main to our autonomic nervous system, switching off the neo-cortex (the analytical brain) and switching on the flight or fight respnse, producing adrenaline and enkephalins (pain killers) which enabled Laurie to act first and think later and at the same time be unaware that she had injured herself. Her body, a perfect survival machine, with greater speed, agility and strength doing what it evolved to do over millions of years, but perhaps with one exception, her modern brain which had practiced many times over being selfless, compassionate and caring, propelled her into saving her friend where a primitive may have accepted their fate and left them to perish. Chris

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