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Courage is Calling

by Ryan Holiday

Amazon

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Rating: 8 / 10

Thoughts

Fantastic book. I'm excited to read the entire series.


The four cardinal virtues: courage, temperance, justice, and wisdom. This book is the first in the series. Courage is the backbone of the other three virtues. Without it, they wouldn't matter.

Virtue is something we do. And we must choose it every day.

On fear

Nobody is without fear. The bravery is in overcoming it. You can't achieve greatness without it.

Logically examine fear to break it down.

Our fears come from the unknown, the vague, the fog. It comes from that which is unknown. Once known, fear is diminished. In horror movies, we are more afraid of the monster when it has yet to be revealed.

Try to examine that which you fear. Tim Ferriss coined fear-setting (articulating your fears), and Seneca wrote of premeditatio malorum (meditation on the evils we may encounter). It may be slightly depressing to always think of what may go wrong/your fears, but better that than unprepared. While you should mentally prepare for the worst, you should balance it with not thinking too much about the future perils. Instead of fearing what might happen when doing the work, be too busy doing the work.

Value your own opinion over that of faceless strangers.

If you want to fear, then fear what happens if you don't take action.

On courage

It's inexcusable to be surprised. The map is not the territory. All models are wrong (but some are useful). If we are surprised by some occurrence, it is not the world that is weird, it's our view of it that is. Reality is reality; your perception is your perception. (Source: Think Like Reality, by Yudkowsky).

Don't worry about whether things will be hard. They will be. If anyone could do it, would it be any special?

It doesn't matter whether other people are courageous, brave, or virtuous. Focus on yourself. Are you living with virtue? Don't question others. You don't know their situation. Don't think you do.

Focus on yourself. What you are doing. Lead by example, instead of berating others.

You have the power to choose your response. You are not impotent; you can respond. You can do something about your situation.

If you're living without courage, you're living a boring life.

Growth comes when you overcome obstacles.

Deciding not to do anything — or deciding to wait to decide — is still a decision. You're voting your agency away.

Who or what could you be if you weren't afraid to fail in public?

The world is asking you, every second, every minute, if you are brave enough. Are you?

Anything that happens to you can be seen as an opportunity. An opportunity to prove yourself. And you do that with your actions.

Courage is contagious. Inspire others. Ground yourself. Keep yourself in check. Be the disciplined commander.

Take ownership.

What would the world look like if everyone listened when “that's not possible” was said?

We all have power to accomplish and achieve. We must take matters into our own hands; take agency, not to wait for it to be given, because it never will.

It is best to win without conflict.

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