What Is Fortitude?

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The word fortitude, meaning “courage in pain or adversity”, is a term associated with individuals that refuse to give up when times get hard. Regardless of the time period, this character trait has always been unique amongst the general population. Even though the specific situations that require fortitude have certainly changed with the typical way of life, the universal definition of the word has not.

Our world today is primarily made up of individuals who have developed a personal comfort zone in which they dare not step out of. This almost always leads to a life of stagnation and results in most people never achieving any remarkable goals they may secretly long for.


This habit is somewhat ingrained in our nature as humans; seeking safety and avoiding the unknown is an inherent survival instinct that was better suited for our ancient ancestors who experienced real threats on a daily basis.

This basic instinct isn’t nearly as applicable in our world today. In modern times, we rarely, if ever, experience a life-threatening situation. Therefore, remaining inside one’s comfort zone can become a real detriment to success and achievement.

How does this relate to fortitude?

In today’s world, pain and adversity have become much more optional occurrences. Make no mistake, life will always present each and every individual with pain and adversity at one point or another, but this is much less commonplace than generations past.

However, for the modern person looking to accomplish a lofty goal or achieve anything truly worthwhile, adversity becomes a much more common occurrence. While displaying fortitude was necessary for survival with regards to our ancient ancestors, this trait is still vital for success today.

For those rare individuals seeking to rise above the status quo and achieve what others around them cannot, having fortitude is a prerequisite to complete the process. Most people settle for average or “good enough”, both of which allow taking the easy route and avoiding excess difficulty. These individuals fail to place themselves in situations that require a demonstration of courage in the face of pain or adversity.

If you are following this discussion with a mind full of large goals and accomplishments that you dream of conquering, you must realize that not only will these dreams require that you experience far more adversity than most, but that you also display courage when hardship presents itself.

Along the path to success, these hardships come in many shapes and forms. One of the main sources of adversity comes from people in your life. A funny thing happens when people see someone else going after things they wouldn’t dare to pursue.

People try to hold back these brave souls with the preconceived limitations they have set for themselves. Therefore, anybody striving for more than the status quo will face all kinds of criticism and doubt from their peers. In this case, fortitude means having the courage to believe in yourself when no one else seems to do the same.

Fortitude- for what?

The second and most difficult form of adversity that requires a large amount of fortitude is dealing with the failure necessary to truly accomplish big goals. The reason that most individuals fall short of remarkable achievement is that they perceive failure as the end; giving up the fight the first time they make a mistake.

On the contrary, people that possess fortitude use these same failures as lessons and valuable experience to better equip themselves for the next obstacle. The courage it takes to shed the fear of failure and realize that mistakes and setbacks are inevitable is the difference between a life of mediocrity and one of fulfillment.

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