Courage Is Calling Summary

1-Sentence-Summary: Courage Is Calling analyzes the actions taken in difficult situations by some of history’s leading figures, thus drawing conclusions about what makes someone courageous and showing you how to become a braver person day-by-day, step-by-step.

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In hindsight, history tells us that men and women of great power showed bravery in grim situations. But actually, it is the courage they showed long before they were powerful that got them to lead empires, countries, and businesses in the first place! Like all humans, they too had to face their own demons. How did they do it?

Courage Is Calling by Ryan Holiday will answer that and any other questions you might have about being brave. It will teach you that courage is a skill you can both practice and attain. Learn to tap into a fiercer, stronger, unbeatable version of yourself. 

Here are my three favorite lessons from the book:

  1. To be brave implies stepping forward in the face of danger instead of stepping back. 
  2. Fear is amplified by vagueness, so fight it with rationality and a clear mind.
  3. Courage is a virtue gained from repeated, small acts of bravery.

Ready to build up your courage? Let’s go!

Courage Is Calling Summary

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Lesson 1: Facing danger and uncertainty with confidence and willingness is what makes a person brave.

Let’s start from the beginning. What is courage? The book defines it as someone’s ability to face danger, challenges, and life’s hardships. Within this concept, you can view courage in two ways: moral and physical courage. The first refers to one’s ability to act according to their moral compass and life principles. Although, that sometimes means defying societal rules, norms, people’s opinions, or putting themselves at risk. One good example of such courage is a whistleblower, or a person who signals something wrong knowing that they’re putting themselves at risk. 

Then, there’s physical courage, or one’s ability to face great danger that may harm their physical integrity. Such people are usually soldiers, army officials, firefighters, movement leaders, etc. The bottom line is that as humans, we can become braver by facing the obstacles in our way with confidence, strength, and a willingness to overcome them. Although there are many risks associated with doing so, a brave person knows that it’s crucial to go ahead and try to overcome the challenge, rather than sitting in silence or turning a blind eye on it.

Throughout history, people who chose to be courageous often managed to change the world for the better. They left their fingerprint forever engraved in humanity’s history, even though they risked their lives for it. Such examples include equality advocates, presidents, peacemakers, scientists who defied what we previously knew, and many others. So, it may seem uncomfortable and scary at first. But you too can face whatever life is throwing at you with great bravery and end up victorious!

Lesson 2: Overcome fear by using logical reasoning and defining it.

Everybody faces fear throughout their lifetime. Sometimes our fears, or phobias, are of great intensity, yet sometimes they’re just irrational little buzzers. Still, if you analyze them carefully, you’ll notice how overcoming them happens by acknowledging the reason behind the fear and overcoming it in your mind first, then through action. Frankly, it’s only normal!

Making sense out of a dilemma and bringing logical reasoning into it makes it easier for us to get past the issue. Again, even the courageous feel fear, but it’s the way they react to it that matters. Analyzing a fear using logical reasoning can make it seem less frightening. This, in turn, will help us get past that situation. 

Greek philosophers often advocated for reason and logic as the one thing that differentiates humans from animals and helps us make sense of the world. Our fears are sometimes irrational, so use this tool within your mind to combat them. Moreover, when ambiguity plays a role in your fears, they grow bigger in our eyes. Therefore, another way to get over phobias and be braver is to use logic to define them, weigh them, and establish their real size. 

Doing so will help you make even more sense of your situation. Ancient Greek philosophers, Stoics, and billionaire Rockefeller used fear setting, or anticipating fears before they turn into reality, in case they do. When you expect something, it can only hurt you so much if it happens. Preparing to face your deepest fears is what’ll help you face them with bravery when they occur.

Lesson 3: Start small — like any skill, courage cannot be acquired in a day.

Greek philosophers, among which Aristotle in particular, believed in the power of virtues. Throughout our life, we must work on our virtues each day by taking small, incremental steps. In the end, we’re all playing a game of consistency. Essentially, the same goes with becoming a brave human. You don’t have to start with grand gestures, such as defying the government. Start small, but make it count. 

For example, you could stand up to your bully, make a point in a meeting at work, or take initiative in something you’ve been wanting to do for a long time. In the end, you’ll be better off trying, than living with the regret of not knowing how things would’ve turned out if you had the courage to follow your gut. The lessons here are to start small, and go through with each step in your journey. You’ll become braver as you go through your fears and push yourself for more and more, and step outside your comfort zone.

In time, you’ll be presented with occasions when you can display great acts of courage and be rewarded for them. Take the example of Martin Luther King Jr, who went to dine in a restaurant in the 1960, and was arrested for it because black men were forbidden from doing so at that time. Once he was arrested, his wife called both John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon to address this, as they were both running for the presidency. However, only Kennedy responded to the inquiry, releasing King by making a few phone calls. In the end, he also won the presidential chair.

Courage Is Calling Review

In our quest to better ourselves, we must learn to overcome our fears. Courage Is Calling offers a series of practical tips you can use to do so, from defining your fear to using logical reasoning to face it as well as some tricks to “jump over” it almost immediately. Highly recommended!

Who would I recommend the Courage Is Calling summary to?

The 20-year-old man who’s working on becoming more daring and confident, the 30-year-old person who is passionate about history and how brave characters have shaped the world we know today, or the 40-year-old alpha male who identifies with the concepts of bravery, masculinity, and leadership.

Last Updated on June 15, 2023

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Maria Deac

While working with my friend Ovi's company SocialBee, I had the good fortune of Maria writing over 200 summaries for us over the course of 18 months. Maria is a professional SEO copywriter, content writer, and social media marketing specialist. When she's not writing or learning more about marketing, she loves to dance and travel all over the world.