Fortune favours the brave. It’s a well known proverb but what exactly does it mean? It is a translation of the Latin proverb "Fortuna audax iuvat", meaning, in simple terms, that good luck comes to those who take chances. It’s a reassurance that we will be favoured by fortune if we carry out our plans boldly, with courage and confidence. It dates back to the second century BC, when Roman playwright Terence used it in his play 'Phormio'.
Since then, there are many examples throughout history that proves how true it is. When Julius Caesar marched on Rome he uttered the famous words ‘alea jacta est’ which means ‘the die is cast’. This was the commitment of his fate to fortune. He was a thorough and professional soldier. Many of his finest moments were achieved by taking bold and often dangerous risks that resulted in memorable triumphs.
Christopher Columbus discovered America. Winston Churchill commanded allied forces to win a World War. Nelson Mandela stood up against South African apartheid. All brave men who altered the course of history because they had the courage to take a risk. They were prepared to face the difficult consequences of their decisions and were rewarded with great success.
And so it is in every walk of life. In business, it is only the enterprising people who will enjoy success and genuine wealth, not the weak-minded or over-cautious. A conservative approach may achieve moderate success but to be outstanding requires the spirit of adventure. I’m reminded of Mark Twain’s famous words: “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
There are many people in life who complain that they can’t attain success in life because fate has conspired against them. This is simply not true. History has shown us that the truth is fortune favours those with courage and an adventurous spirit. Those that are prepared to take risks but not be reckless. Those that give proper consideration to their decision and then go boldly in the direction of their dream. Fortune smiles on people who dare to achieve, but if a man ventures nothing, he will surely gain nothing.
Challenges and obstacles that create fear are ever present in life. But fear is merely a state of mind and often doesn’t truly reflect the reality of a situation. To progress and prosper in life, one has to develop the courage to cross the hurdles that lie in the path to our destination. This requires positive thought but also the ability to put things into perspective. When fear can be analysed then it can be overcome. With a strong mindset and clear plan much can be achieved but it demands some bravery.
Bravery is a dynamic quality that is in all of us. Soldiers, police officers and firemen are often called upon to show it openly but it’s something we all have and display in different ways. Struggling to improve quality of life for your family is a type of bravery. Actors, musicians and artists must face up to the fear of their first performance because if they don’t have the courage to take this risk, fate will never have the opportunity to smile on them and they’ll never achieve their dream.
Fighting for a social cause is another type of bravery and I’ve already mentioned Nelson Mandela in this regard. In a similar way, Mahatma Ghandi and Martin Luther King had the courage to raise their voices against injustice and oppression. Fighting for others brings recognition, appreciation and blessings in return. John Lennon left his footprints in the sands of time not just for his music but also speaking out and pleading for peace in the world. He died as a hero to many around the world.
It’s an old adage that we reap what we sow. Bold actions now will offer rewards in the future. If a sense of bravery can be instilled in young people, it will enable them to meet the various challenges of life with dignity and grace. They should also be taught to temper courage with generosity. Fortune tends to favour those who are not only brave but use the quality to assist others. Mother Teresa is a fine example of someone whose selfless deeds ultimately created a lot of blessings in her own life.
The curious thing about success is that it never lowers its standard to meet anyone. It’s up to us to lift ourselves to achieve it and this is only possible by being brave. Self control, optimism and an open mind are all examples of what is often required. Leading somebody in the right direction and raising the standard of people around you are also forms of bravery. A man who is confident in himself commands the confidence of others. He has the ability to lead and inspire others.
Essential elements of bravery include self-awareness, together with the ability to admit and learn from mistakes. It often takes courage to admit you are wrong or could be doing something better. Once this hurdle is cleared though, you can begin on the path to success. Continuing to act boldly and without fear of failure is your key to reaching that destination.
History has taught us to take a chance to fulfil your ambition, whatever it may be. If it’s wealth you are seeking, open your mind to the opportunities around you and then actually take one of them. He who hesitates is lost. Commit yourself to it with valour and the self-belief. Live with a sense of adventure and you will advance with confidence in the direction of your dreams. Fortune truly does favour the brave.
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