• Dalya Shaw

The 'Cowardly' Lion - A Lesson on Bravery...


The fourth member of the party on the journey to see the Wizard is the Lion. He is often referred to as the ‘cowardly’ Lion but in the story, he instinctively performs many acts of bravery.


We don’t know why or how the Lion came to be cowardly, other than this is what he believes of himself. When he first meets Dorothy, he fakes what he thinks is being brave and attempts to scare the trio. It is only when he pretends to bite Toto, Dorothy’s dog, that she slaps him, and he instantly crumbles reduced to tears. He confesses that he is indeed cowardly, and we see the first instance of confusing courage with wisdom.


Like the Scarecrow and Tin Man so far, it is what the Lion believes himself to be, that determines his actions and in life would ultimately determine his success. He believes he is cowardly and therefore incapable of acting bravely. Scarecrow believes he has no brain and therefore incapable of thinking and learning. The Tin Man believes he has no heart and therefore incapable of loving or being loved.

The Wizard it quick to tell the Lion that he is the ‘victim of disorganised thinking’ and running away from danger does not equal a lack of courage. ‘You are confusing courage with wisdom.’


How much of our fear is the result of our own disorganised thinking?

How much of our self-belief is the constant replaying, (consciously or unconsciously), of negative mental files from our past, that keep us stuck? How much negative self-talk do we continue to listen to and record daily?

How many of these old and new messages keep us from moving forward in a positive way, having wonderful lives and empowering others to do the same?

I have loved exploring the characters of this story and am continually reminded that we are the product of our own thinking and our own limiting beliefs.

Henry Ford said, “If you think you can do a thing, or you think you can’t do a thing, you’re right.”


The Lion was born with the label ‘King of the Beasts’ but his belief is that his fear makes him inadequate. He misses the biggest lesson here in that courage is not the absence of fear but acting in the face of fear. Perhaps one of life’s biggest questions is ‘can we find the courage to face and defeat our fear?’ I want to yell YES here 😊 but I know from personal experience it is easier said than done. Acting in the face of fear, even unconscious or unreasonable fear, can be paralysing.

Courage cannot be taught. We can ‘en’courage but for us to really know how strong we are and how brave we are, we need to experience it first-hand. Courage can only be experienced through life’s challenges and circumstances, when our emotional resources are pushed to the absolute limit. When our first instinctive reaction is to flee (or blame), yet we stand and face our situation.


The good news is that courage is made up of many elements, all which we already have inside us. The key is to find them and draw on them. Being courageous means finding our self-confidence and acting with conviction and compassion. It is about realising and demonstrating our personal integrity. It is about digging deep to find our inner strength to face adversity and to trust ourselves enough to embrace the unknown. It requires us to adapt to change but most important, it requires us to take action.

Finding courage requires a rearrangement of our disorganised thinking.


Two years ago, I was forwarded a text message. I still have no idea who this person is but have thought of them more times than I care to say. My dear Person, if you are reading this post, consider yourself hugged so tightly from me and I will always welcome a message from you.

I hope that by sharing this story of two courageous kids, it will remind everyone else that life is ALWAYS better when we love and look out for each other. Here is an excerpt of the message...


…. I just wanted you to know that your son was a

really brave kid!!! He was one of my mates, I caught the bus with him, and we became friends because one day there were three kids that were planning to bash me as soon as I got off the bus. I was preparing to fight back. As I got off I looked back and Ben jumped off the bus and Ben said “I’ve got your back bro” and we both stood there waiting as these 3 kids were walking towards us. When they saw I wasn’t alone they turned around and went back…”

Much Love

Dalya xx 💙

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Dalya Shaw

Speaking Services | Writing Services

e: dalya@dalyashaw.com

Brisbane, Australia

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