Courage — a Virtue Worth Implementing

After having read Ryan Holiday’s new book ‘Courage Is Calling: Fortune Favours the Brave’ I decided to dedicate a few words to it. Courage is something of incredible importance to our world. Courage is needed to take important decisions, to become a better version of yourself, to contribute to the wellbeing of others. We can even say that courage is one of these special human powers that has the potential to achieve superhuman results. I’d like to entertain the thought that courage is some sort of a responsibility. A duty. A willingness to take a risk, in order to do the right thing. The ‘right thing’ doesn’t necessarily need to be huge, but it is something of which you know it contributes to the greater good.

What does being courageous mean to you? It could mean stepping out of your comfort zone, or perhaps losing sight of your own wellbeing in order to help someone else. At the end of the day courage is indeed about acting upon this inner voice that tells you to take a leap. To make this move. To take action. It is up to us to answer this voice. Will we do something with it?

Ryan Holiday’s new book emphasises on exactly this inner voice. This ‘calling’ — will we answer it? That’s the main question the author focusses on. The book consists of three main chapters: Fear, Courage and Heroism. Every chapter contains various historical moments and stories about people who faced challenges for which courage was the key. The only way forward. The Spartans defending Greece against a tyrant called Xerxes in the valley of Thermopylae in 480 BC, Winston Churchill navigating Great Britain through the Second World War and Seneca, the ancient Stoic philosopher doing whatever was in his power to develop a virtue-based system that contributed to a better and healthier society. A belief system which, thousands of years later, we’re still benefiting from. 

There’s this thing that stops people from being courageous. A thing called fear. Fear for the unknown. Fear for the consequences of taking that leap into the unknown. It is fear that paralyses us in a way that prevents us from fulfilling our dreams and ambitions. It is safe to say that we have to take risks in order to grow. We will fall, but we will get up again and move forward. We can’t lose that goal out of our sights. Reaching that goal will require us to be courageous. We most likely have to take difficult decisions. We might even have to sacrifice things. It’s not going to be easy. At the end of the day, it could be that this goal we’re intending to reach is dynamic and possibly even ever-changing. So it’s not only about reaching that goal, but more about the way we are moving and navigating towards that goal. That should be with a virtuous attitude and a moral compass. 

‘Courage is Calling’ is not Holiday’s best book but it’s worth a read. It’s definitely an interesting topic that we should all engage with. ‘Stillness is the Key’ and ‘The Obstacle is the Way’ are two of his best titles which I’d definitely recommend reading.