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Wow: Aplomb

What is Aplomb?

Aplomb is a 19th Century word the English borrowed from the French. In its literal definition aplomb simply means “Composure”. Aplomb is complete and confident composure or self-assurance. Another, more commonly used word in place of aplomb is, poise. Let’s break this definition down even further and see its connection to our virtue Courageous.

What are some characteristics of a courageous individual? A courageous person is brave and does not wither in the face of adversity. It is a person who stands up for what he/she believes in. A courageous person, even when facing their fears, demonstrates composure and self-assurance. There are plenty of examples of courageous people we can think of. From the likes of Rosa Parks not giving up her seat on the bus knowing the danger she was putting herself in, to a firefighter running into a burning building to save someone’s life just before the building collapses, acts of courage are easy to identify in others.

Courage doesn’t always have to be displayed in a grand act or gesture. It’s not always putting yourself in harms way to help someone else out. Acts of courage can often come in a smaller and less obvious manner, like maintaining your composure in a stressful situation or having self-assurance or confidence in making a life changing decision.

This is where the connection between aplomb and courage comes in. Composure, self-assurance, and confidence are all adjectives of a courageous individual. Composure is staying calm and collected when stressed and showing restraint in your response to an agitated situation. These characteristics define aplomb and describe a courageous individual.

Today’s Takeaway:

Aplomb is a word meaning complete and confident composure or self-assurance. A unique word that is often used in the form of poise. We learned that the characteristics of aplomb, that self-assurance and composure, also make up a courageous person. We often think of acts of courage as big gestures. You can still be courageous and demonstrate aplomb through less obvious actions like staying calm and levelheaded during a heated argument or feeling confident enough to go out and try something you have never done before.


Parting Challenge:

Demonstrate aplomb this week with acts of courage. Make a conscious effort to be mindful of your composure throughout stressful situations this week. Challenge yourself to stay calm and collected in these moments and display confidence in your abilities!


Continuing the Conversation:

Demonstrating aplomb doesn’t have to stop with the challenge above. Here is a list of additional challenges to explore this week and thoughts for conversations.

  • What skill of yours do you feel you are most confident in? What would your peers say that skill is?

  • Challenge yourself to try something new this week. Could be a food you have never felt confident to try out. Could be an activity you have always wanted to do but haven’t quite built up the courage to do so. Go do it!

  • Be a motivator to a friend, loved one, or student and challenge them to build confidence in themselves. Push them to be courageous in their own life.

  • Put together a list of additional words or character traits that are synonyms to aplomb you can use to reinforce your desire to be a courageous person.

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​The Auto-B-Good 9-Virtues SEL program features 63 award-winning animated lessons that help students develop good character and become rising stars. To learn more about this great resource, visit us at

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