The Virtue of Courage is the ability to stay strong and in control of our emotions in the face of adversity. We think of valor when the word courage is being thrown around but there is so much more to this Stoic virtue than marching into battle. Bringing this virtue into the modern age through stoic lifestyle design is something that I am striving for. The Virtue of Courage is my second post in the Stoic Virtue set.
The Stoics believed that the virtue of courage was less about eliminating your fears but to accept your fears instead. Push through your fears with as much resilience and endurance that you can garner. This is not carte blanche to be an idiot and take unnecessary risks. The Stoics don’t want you to be courageous for the sake of being courageous. The reason that the virtue of courage is the second stoic virtue is that you must master the first virtue of wisdom to really comprehend the rest of the virtues.
“But what I will do is lead you down a different road to tranquility. If you want to be rid of worry, then fix your mind on whatever it is that you are afraid might happen as a thing that definitely will happen. Whatever bad event that might be, take the measure of it mentally and so assess your fear. You will soon realize that what you fear is either no great matter or not long lasting.”Letters to Lucilius ( XXIV.2) – Seneca the Younger
The Stoics emphasized the importance of distinguishing between what is within our control and what is not. While we cannot control external events, we can control our response to them. Courage involves taking responsibility for our actions and decisions, even in the face of adversity.
5 Virtues of Courage Focus Areas for Stoic Lifestyle Design
The virtue of courage is the ability to endure hardships in life with an indifference to the hardship itself. Life is difficult but when we have the ability to endure in spite of these obstacles, that is courage. Within the area of stoic lifestyle design, we should never give up if the task is important to ourselves and if we believe that it is right. We should embrace them and use them as opportunities to strengthen our character and develop our resilience.
This seems to be self evident to most but courage allows us to believe in ourselves and our actions. Our confidence stems from the courage to know our self worth and our abilities.
Confidence, on the other hand, was seen by the Stoics as a natural outcome of courage. They believed that when we face our fears and take action in the face of adversity, we develop a sense of confidence in ourselves and our abilities. When we are confident, we are better able to navigate difficult situations and make decisions in line with reason and virtue.
The Stoics believed that high-mindedness was essential for living in accordance with nature. To live in harmony with the universe, we must strive for excellence in all aspects of our lives. We must have a sense of purpose and direction, and we must be willing to take on challenges that are in line with our values and principles.
High-mindedness involves having a sense of self-respect and self-worth. It is the ability to recognize and appreciate one’s own virtues and strengths, while also recognizing one’s limitations and weaknesses. High-minded individuals are not arrogant or boastful, but rather they have a quiet confidence in their abilities and their worth as human beings.
The Stoics believed that cheerfulness was not just a desirable trait, but a necessary one. They believed that life is full of challenges and setbacks, and that it is our attitude towards these difficulties that determines our happiness and well-being. By cultivating cheerfulness, we can better navigate the ups and downs of life and maintain our emotional equilibrium.
Cheerfulness involves focusing on the good in life, rather than dwelling on the negative. It is the ability to find joy and pleasure in simple things, and to appreciate the beauty and wonder of the world around us. This does not mean ignoring or denying the difficulties of life, but rather finding a balance between acknowledging these challenges and maintaining a positive outlook.
The Stoics believed that cheerfulness was not just a matter of temperament or personality, but a skill that could be cultivated through practice and training. They encouraged individuals to engage in practices such as gratitude, mindfulness, and positive visualization, which can help cultivate a more cheerful outlook.
The Stoics believed that industriousness was necessary for achieving our goals and fulfilling our responsibilities. They believed that life is short and that we should make the most of our time by engaging in meaningful work and contributing to society. They emphasized the importance of taking action and making progress towards our goals, rather than simply talking or thinking about them.
Industriousness involves a commitment to excellence in all aspects of our work. It is the ability to focus our attention and energy on the task at hand, and to persist in the face of obstacles and challenges. It also involves a sense of responsibility and accountability, as we take ownership of our work and strive to do our best.
The Stoics believed that industriousness was not just a matter of external success or achievement, but also a way to cultivate inner strength and resilience. By engaging in hard work and productive activity, we can develop a sense of purpose and direction in life, and build a strong character that can withstand the challenges of life.