Training the Coward Inside

While we all hope life will be smooth and easy we all know that’s rarely the case. All worthwhile pursuits involve training the coward inside us to embrace suffering and push past our breaking point

Recently I’ve been reading a lot about stoic philosophy and applications of stoicism. Ryan Holiday has some great books that are good primers on the philosophy and great springboards for applied stoicism.

Today I read You Must Train the Coward Inside You to my boys. (It’s a short read if you are interested.) Here are two of my favorite quotes:

Everyone has a breaking point. For most people, that point is very low, which is why many people never push themselves past their comfort zone.… And the dirty little secret is that everyone has a coward inside them, and if you really want to be tough, and I mean that both physically and mentally, you have to push that coward to the breaking point and then push past it every day. You have to embrace suffering.

That’s what Stoicism was built for. It teaches us to—as they say in the military—“embrace the suck” and find security and peace even in the midst of warfare and crisis.

While we all hope life will be smooth and easy we all know that’s rarely the case. All worthwhile pursuits involve training the coward inside us to “embrace suffering” and push past our “breaking point”.


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