Fortune does, indeed, favor the brave.
"Courage is Calling: Fortune Favors the Brave" by the best-selling author Ryan Holiday is an excellent book that provides an actionable plan to develop courage in our lives. The author explores the idea that courage is not only for heroes and soldiers but can also be displayed in our everyday lives. He explains that courage is not a lack of fear, but the ability to confront it and take action despite it.
Holiday introduces us to a story about Hercules which perfectly illustrates our daily dilemma – choosing between the easy way and the hard – but more honorable – way.
He relates that the great Greek hero Hercules was traveling in the hills of Greece when he approached a fork in his path among the pine trees.
On one path there lay a beautiful goddess who promised Hercules any of the temptations he could imagine. “Adorned in finery, she promised him a life of ease. She swore he never taste want or unhappiness or fear or pain. Follow her, she said, and his every desire would be fulfilled.”
On the other path another goddess stood in a pure white robe. Her quieter, more stern, offer promised nothing like the other goddess. The only rewards Hercules could expect were those that came because of hard work. “It would be a long journey, she said. There would be sacrifice. There would be scary moments. But it was a journey fit for a God. It would make him the person whose ancestors meant him to be.”
Hercules’ choice was between the Goddess of Vice and the Goddess of Virtue. He didn't hesitate. He chose Virtue.
Ryan tells us that in the ancient world virtue is comprised of four key elements:
In this book the author is guiding us to develop the element of courage.
The book is divided into three parts, each of which is focused on specific aspects of courage. In the first part, the author discusses the foundation of courage, which is the ability to control our emotions. The author asserts that courage requires emotional control, and it is essential to have a clear understanding of our emotions to develop courage.
In the second part, the author discusses the four virtues of courage. The author provides detailed explanations of each of these virtues, and how we can cultivate them in our lives. He stresses that these virtues are essential for developing the courage to face difficult situations and overcome them.
In the final part, the author provides practical advice on how to cultivate courage in our lives. He suggests that we should focus on taking small steps to develop courage, rather than trying to be courageous all at once. The author provides a list of daily practices that we can incorporate into our lives to develop courage, such as journaling, meditation, and physical exercise.
The biggest takeaway from Holiday’s book is the fact that courage is an attainable skill. We can work to become more brave to improve our lives.
Essentially there are three lessons from the book:
1. We become “brave” when we can consistently face danger, life’s inevitable hardships and challenges with confidence. This includes the obvious Physical Courage, but it also includes the more commonly needed Moral Courage.
2. Use logical reasoning to define our fears and overcome them. Acknowledge the reason behind your fear, then working to overcoming it in your mind first, then start taking action. Remember, even the courageous person still feels fear, but it’s how they react to that fear that makes the difference. Our fears can be irrational and seem larger than they are in reality. Use logic and reasoning to define the parameters of the fear and realize the actual impact they do or do not have.
3. Just like any other skill, the act of becoming courageous is grown by repetition. We are going to repeatedly do small acts of bravery to grow our capacity for more bravery. We don’t have to take a huge leap at first, we can use small incremental steps to stay consistent with virtues that guide us to “do the right thing” like honesty, integrity, faithfulness, and ideals. This shapes the development of our character.
"There is no deed in this life so impossible that you cannot do it. Your whole life should be lived as a heroic deed."
Another important lesson from the book is that courage is not the absence of fear. The author explains that fear is a natural response to challenging situations, and it is okay to feel afraid. However, it is essential to confront our fears and take action despite them.
"Courage is Calling" is a well-written and engaging book that is easy to read and understand. The author uses real-life examples and personal anecdotes to illustrate his points, which makes the book relatable and inspiring.
Overall, I would recommend "Courage is Calling" to anyone who is looking to develop courage in their lives. The book provides a practical and actionable plan to cultivate courage, and it is an excellent resource for anyone who wants to overcome their fears and take action towards their goals.