The bravest are those who have vision of what is before them, glory and danger alike, and yet notwithstanding, go out to meet it. – Thucydides
What does that mean?
In researching this quote, I found it is sourced both to Pericles and to Thucydides. The latter is famous for having written the History of the Peloponnesian War. To me, this implies that Pericles most was most likely to have said it, and Thucydides is most likely recorded it. Regardless of the exact pedigree of the quote, I feel it has sufficient value to discuss.
It’s easy to step forward, seeing nothing but glory and fame before you. It is easy to do things, when all you can see is the good that comes from your actions. However, things are rarely that easy. Usually, along with all the good stuff is a little of the other stuff as well.
That is what today’s quote is about. It is about those who see not just the good things, and the easy things, but those who also see the hard things and the less than pleasant things which await them. Those who see all of this, and still do what needs doing, they are the ones who the quote calls brave.
Why is knowing, yet doing anyway important?
It is easy, and not necessarily brave, to rush out and do things, never thinking or understanding the dangers which you face. That is the brash and reckless bravery of youth. Most guys have been there at some point or another in their younger years, myself included.
When you can see both the excitement of doing, and the dangers associated with both the doing, and the failing while doing, that bravery becomes part of the equation. Being knowledgable of the risks, of the downside is an important part of the ability to make sound decisions.
Once the risks as well as the rewards, the dangers as well as the thrills, are known, it is far easier to assess what should be done. But there are times when, despite the danger, you must do what is required. And that is where the bravery comes in, where the true honor of life is earned.
Where can I apply this in my life?
Generally, youth are unaware of the possibilities of true danger. They may understand the concept of failure, and may have encountered it in school work or sports. However, the true concept of crippling or fatal injury in the pursuit of a goal, that’s usually well beyond them.
Even those in their late teens and early twenties, hardly youth at this point, can often be unaware of the truth and seriousness of the situation they face, until afterwards. Whether it’s war or a full contact sport, the young often are the most reckless, not understanding the true cost they may end up paying.
To me, the key to enacting this quote is to first know what the risks and down sides are. That is mostly about doing your research, and determining both what could happen, as well the likelihood of the occurrences. Armed with the whole picture, the second step is to come up with a plan to minimize the risks, and the final step is to take action.
Therein exists the bravery. Knowing that things could go wrong, working to make the odds as much in your favor you can possible, and then taking action. But where in your life does that apply? Perhaps in something as simple as going on a diet.
A diet, brave? Yep. How difficult will it be to go with friends and decline to eat even more? How difficult will it be to say ‘No’ to desert, when everyone else at the table says ‘Yes’? What about declining to do things with your friends, because it would cut into your exercise time?
While those may not be dangers to life and limb, they are social dangers, which could result in significant down-sides to your social life, right? That is something that I would consider part of the quote, even if it isn’t as dangerous as going to war with spear and sword.
Saying ‘No’ to peer pressure is always socially dangerous, especially when it may cost you the comfort of and membership within your peer group. But if you understand what the potential down-side of doing the activity, to help balance the down-side of refusing to participate, it becomes easier to show your bravery.
Another possibility is in business, at least for the owner. What are the dangers of changing the hours, changing the product (be it manufacturing or food), opening a new store, or even starting in the first place. Often times, the danger is the complete loss of every penny earned and saved to that point in their life. That takes no small amount bravery, in my opinion.
In the modern day, the opportunities to live this quote in context, while possible, are rare for most of us. But there are still opportunities to face the worst possible down-sides, and step forth and do what needs to be done despite the dangers and risks.
From: Twitter, @AR_Foundation
confirmed at : http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/t/thucydides126491.html
Photo by Casey Serin