“Courage Is Calling” Quotes

I recently read “Courage Is Calling: Fortune Favors The Brave” by Ryan Holiday. Below are the quotes I found most interesting. If you like them, buy the book here.

“”Be scared. You can’t help that,” William Faulkner put it. “But don’t be afraid.”

It’s an essential distinction. A scare is a temporary rush of a feeling. That can be forgiven. Fear is a state of being, and to allow it to rule is a disgrace.” (14)

“It’s been said that leaders are dealers in hope, but in a more practical sense, they are also slayers of fear.” (17)

“There are many who dare not kill themselves for fear of what the neighbors will say,” Cyril Connolly once joked.” (20)

“You can’t let fear rule. Because there has never been a person who did something that mattered without pissing people off.” (22)

“There are always more of them before they are counted.”

The obstacles, the enemies, the critics – they are not as numerous as you think. It’s an illusion they want you to believe.” (24)

“The leader’s job is to think about the unthinkable.” (28)

“The only inexcusable offense for an officer is to be surprised. To say, I didn’t think that would happen.” (28) 

“The whole point is that it’s hard. The risk is a feature, not a bug.” (32)

“It’s not bad that this is happening to you. It’s good training.” (32)

“It’s when we imagine everything, when we catastrophize endlessly, that we are miserable and most afraid. When we focus on what we have to carry and do? We are too busy to worry, too busy working. “(36)

“No one can truly understand what it would be like to occupy a different time and place, with different assumptions, assumptions shared by everyone you’ve ever met and everything you’ve ever read.” (40)

“Xenophon said they could choose between two attitudes, one that said, “What is going to happen to me?” And the other that said, “What action am I going to take?”” (44)

“We like to think we can have an extraordinary life by making ordinary decisions, but it’s not true. It’s actually all the ordinary decisions – the safe ones, recommended by every expert, criticized by no one – that make us incredibly vulnerable in times of chaos and crisis.” (62)

“This independence, this fearlessness was the key to his greatness – as it is the key to most greatness.” (94)

“The world is asking you about your courage. Every minute of every day. Your enemies are asking you this question. Your obstacles are too. Because we need to know. Are you one of the cowards? Are you someone we can count on? Do you have what it takes?” (97)

“Seneca would say that he actually pitied people who have never experienced misfortune. “You have passed through life without an opponent,” he said. “No one can ever know what you are capable of, not even you.”” (97)

“The Greek word for this kind of courage was parrhesia. It was the speaking of truth to power. It was refusing to buy the lie or to play it false.” (111)

“Socrates was the classic parrhesiastes, a man who said what others were afraid to say to the people they were afraid to say it to.” (111)

“George Marshall cut through with a command: “Gentleman, don’t fight the problem! Decide it!” (114)

“McCain learned from his mother to welcome difficulties as “elements of an interesting life.” (128)

“There is no one, William James said, more miserable than the person “in whom nothing is habitual but indecision.” (129)

“You make a difference when you are brave. Because you make others brave in the process.” (139)

“It’s not my fault.” “It’s not my problem.” “Don’t blame me.” These are not phrases that can exist in your vocabulary. Not if you want to be great. Not unless you’re a coward.” (142)

“The willingness to accept responsibility for one’s own life,” Joan Didion observed, “is the source from which self-respect springs.” (142)

“General Erwin Rommel would write, “But one must differentiate between strategic or tactical boldness and a military gamble. A bold operatoin is one in which success is not a certainty but which in case of failure leaves one with sufficient forces in hand to cope with whatever situation may arise. A gamble, on the other hand, is an operation which can lead either to victory or to the complete destruction of one’s force. Situations can arise where even a gamble may be justified as, for instance, when in the normal course of events defeat is merely a matter of time, when the gaining of time is therefore pointless and the only chance lies in an operation of great risk.” (149)

“They will laugh at you. Losers have always gotten together in little groups and talked about winners.” (153)

“Reject the pessimistic view that we are at the mercy of forces beyond our control. Yes, you can do something. You must.” (164)

“Where there is only a choice between cowardice and violence,” Gandhi said, “I would advise violence.” (168)

“The expression popular with self-defense instructors: Violence is rarely the answer – but when it is, it’s the only answer.” (168)

“The bodlness, the gamble, the sheer tenacity and determination? They might not be the most educated, they might not be the most wealthy, some of them might well be leaving mistakes and failures behind them, but immigrants are by definition exhibiting a virtue we all admire. Tired? Meek? These are indefatigable warriors. They are the descendants fo pioneers and explorers. Where would we be without this kind of courage? 

Who would not want it infused into their economy and culture? Who can’t learn something form this in our own cushier, safer lives?” (171)

“Continuing to do the same thing in the same way in the same place over and over is not just insanity, but eventually a form of cowardice.” (172)

“It takes courage to look at the averages and say, “I am not average.” To say, “Somebody will be the exception and it may as well be me.” (180)

“Steve Jobs said, “One way to remember who you are, is to remember who your heroes are.” (183)

“Seneca’s father wrote, “You had a brave man for a grandfather. See to it that you are braver.” (184)

“You can’t let this period (of a valley) make you bitter. You have to make sure it makes you better.” (213)

“Jackie Robinson said, “a life is meaningless except for its impact on other lives.” (219)

“That’s who we were put here for anyway. Our duty was never just to be the best ourselves, but to help others ealize their best.” (221)

“De Gaulle reflected, “Character is above all the ability to disregard insults or abandonment by one’s own people. One must be willing to lose everything. There is no such thing as half a risk.” (240)

“No one is saying they can’t eventually beat you, only that surrender is a choice. Quitting on your cause – that’s on you.” (256)

“To give in to fear is to deny the talents and skills that got you where you are in the first place. It’s to deprive yourself of the agency you were given at birth.” (272)

Like the quotes? Buy the book here.

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