Courage Is Calling: Quotes From Ryan Holiday to Inspire Action

This article is an excerpt from the Shortform book guide to "Courage Is Calling" by Ryan Holiday. Shortform has the world's best summaries and analyses of books you should be reading.

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Are you looking for Courage Is Calling quotes? What excerpts from the book capture the book’s message?

Ryan Holiday’s Courage Is Calling teaches the meaning of courage using principles from the Greek philosophy of Stoicism. Holiday argues that every person has the innate ability to be courageous. When you overcome fear and choose to do the right thing every day, you can effect positive change in the world.

Keep reading for five quotes from the book that will give you a glimpse into its ideas.

Courage Is Calling Quotes

We’ve collected a few of the best Courage Is Calling quotes, along with some context and explanation.

“It doesn’t matter who or how many come at you, you have to be you. Confidently. Authentically. Bravely.”

When you try to do the right thing and you’re met with opposition and danger, Holiday encourages you to keep going. Hard as it may be, being courageous means making the right choice anyway, regardless of the consequences. You may feel alone for a while, and people may think you’re strange. Still, in the end, you’ll have succeeded because you stayed true to what you know to be morally right.

“One man with courage makes a majority.”

Throughout history, many artists, writers, journalists, politicians, and other everyday citizens stood up against injustice and spoke the truth, frequently at great expense to themselves. These people were often alone in their convictions at the start. They had to stand firm in their beliefs until the opinions of their society caught up with them.

“The opposite of courage is not, as some argue, being afraid. It’s apathy. It’s disenchantment. It’s despair. It’s throwing up your hands and saying, ‘What’s the point anyway?’”

Holiday argues that the opposite of courage is not fear or cowardice: It’s apathy and despair. You can’t control all the evils in the world or the fear they inspire, but you can choose how you respond to them. If courage is overcoming fear and moving to action, apathy is giving into fear by choosing not to act.

Courageous people are driven by hope instead of fear. They believe in a better future and work toward it by trying to find solutions for the world’s problems. They always care about the suffering of others, finding meaning in their efforts to help.

“There is nothing worth doing that is not scary.”

According to Holiday, the right thing to do is that which helps good to overcome evil. He also argues that the right thing to do in any situation is almost always the hardest choice or the choice you fear. This is because doing the right thing often requires you to disrupt the status quo, which leads to consequences and pushback. Faced with these consequences, you’ll likely feel some fear and hesitation.

“The belief that an individual can make a difference is the first step. The next is understanding that you can be that person.”

According to Holiday, the first step toward making a positive difference is believing that you can do so. This belief in your own agency allows you to make brave choices that lead to bigger changes. This kind of bravery doesn’t just happen in situations where your life and livelihood are at risk—it’s also in the small choices you make every day.

“There’s courage and then there is heroism, the highest form of courage.”

Holiday also makes a distinction between courage and heroic action. Heroism is specifically courage in the service of other people. Heroes are willing to make great sacrifices to help others without any discernible benefit to themselves. According to Holiday’s definition, heroism always involves courage, but courageous actions aren’t always heroic.

Holiday asserts that heroism surpasses everyday courage. It allows us to access a higher, almost divine state of being—what the Stoics referred to as “greatness of soul,” or megalopsuchia. Still, heroism cannot exist without everyday courage—developing your courage through ordinary moments of overcoming your fears prepares you for opportunities to be heroic when they come.

Courage Is Calling: Quotes From Ryan Holiday to Inspire Action

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Like what you just read? Read the rest of the world's best book summary and analysis of Ryan Holiday's "Courage Is Calling" at Shortform.

Here's what you'll find in our full Courage Is Calling summary:

  • Ryan Holiday's advice for how to be courageous in any situation
  • How to break free from the fear of what other people think of you
  • How to take control of your actions and make difficult decisions

Elizabeth Whitworth

Elizabeth has a lifelong love of books. She devours nonfiction, especially in the areas of history, theology, and philosophy. A switch to audiobooks has kindled her enjoyment of well-narrated fiction, particularly Victorian and early 20th-century works. She appreciates idea-driven books—and a classic murder mystery now and then. Elizabeth has a blog and is writing a book about the beginning and the end of suffering.

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