dauntless stand up


“We’ve all started to put down the virtues of the other factions in the process of bolstering our own. I don’t want to do that. I want to be brave, and selfless, and smart, and kind, and honest.”

Four <Divergent>


“Virtue refuses facility for her companion … the easy, gentle, and sloping path that guides the footsteps of a good natural disposition is not the path of true virtue. It demands a rough and thorny road.”

Michel de Montaigne


Dauntless and being dauntless.

I thought about this after reading this quote from Rob Estreitinho: “Serve the idea. Solve the problem. Everything else is ego talk.”

In order to live your business Life to this ideal one would have to be, well, dauntless.

I love the word Dauntless.

I rediscovered the word in an otherwise incredibly poorly written great story <the Divergent trilogy>.

The book places society into five different factions — each espousing one specific virtue <at the expense of other virtues>.  I imagine one of the points is that making one virtue your Life focus is bad in that we are a complex balance of a number of virtues.

Anyway. The factions are <virtues>:








But it is in the Dauntless idea in which I found something that truly struck a chord.  Something I found valuable to think about. Okay. Not just for me but society, business and people in general.

“We believe in ordinary acts of bravery, in the courage that drives one person to stand up for another.”

Dauntless Manifesto

Well. There is a thought. No. there is a BIG thought. In a me, me, me world <or at least it sometimes feels that way these days>, in a world where if I see something like ‘no one will stand up for you but yourself’, or, hear the only one you can count on is yourself’ one more time, I will begin thinking we have lost our humanity compass (or, at least, lost sight of what is important).


Ordinary acts of bravery.

Bravery as in everyday actions and not in running into fires to save someone or stepping in front of a bullet.

Bravery as in stepping in front of criticism.

Bravery as in stepping in front of ‘doing nothing.’

Bravery as in stepping in and doing what is right <even if it may not be the easiest thing to do>.

Bravery as in stepping up for an unpopular idea.

Or. How about these words:


“We believe in shouting for those who can only whisper, in defending those who cannot defend themselves.”


I am not suggesting shouting, but rather speaking out for those who only whisper and defending those who cannot defend themselves. This includes ideas.


The world is made up of a bunch of different people. It is crazy, fucking crazy, to criticize and diminish the people who only whisper or do not always defend themselves. Yeah. We may not like it, we may wish that they stood up and spoke out, but just because they don’t doesn’t make them ‘lesser than.’ It is simply what it is. Accept it. And if you can make a difference, and you want to make a difference; then make a difference. You are no better than the other person, you are simply doing what you do.

In other words. If you are dauntless, then be dauntless.

But, I imagine my real point is, if you have this dauntless virtue than accept the responsibility.

It is who you are and you should be it.


My next point?  Fearless and dauntless are two completely different things.

Dauntless doesn’t mean you do not have fear … it simply means ‘going the way despite maybe having fear.’ Dauntless is a relentless pursuit of what you believe is right.


As Montaigne suggests, it is not an easy gentle slope of living life; it is a rough and thorny road.

I found it interesting that the author of the Divergent trilogy in an appendix suggested the following lyrics to this song captured the essence of what she was writing about <and I thought it also was relevant to being dauntless>:


“Hold on to the world we all remember fighting for

There’s some strength left in you yet

Hold on to the world we all remember dying for

There’s some hope left in it yet

Arise and be

All that you dreamed.

Flyleaf <Arise>


Ah. Arise and be all that you dreamed.

Do we not all dream about standing up for those who cannot stand on their own?

Do we not dream about speaking up for those who can only whisper?

Or defending those who cannot defend themselves?


If that is being Dauntless … well … sign me up.

Now. We may all dream of being ‘that person.’  But that is not for everyone. And it shouldn’t be. Because sometimes being dauntless means you are simply clearing the way, opening the pathway, so someone can get through and do what they do. And what they do is make the world a little more like the world we remember worth dying for.

What does this suggest? Roles & responsibilities. We all have roles & responsibilities.

Regardless. The Dauntless Manifesto has some thoughtful thoughts. Things we should all think about. Things that may remind us of the world we remember worth dying for.

Anyway.  Parts of the Dauntless Manifesto are silly … but it is a poorly written young adult book so just focus on the sometimes breathtaking choice of words:


Dauntless Manifesto:

We believe that cowardice is to blame for the world’s injustices.

We believe that peace is hard-won, that sometimes it is necessary to fight for peace. But more than that: We believe that justice is more important than peace.

We believe in freedom from fear, in denying fear the power to influence our decisions. We believe in ordinary acts of bravery, in the courage that drives one person to stand up for another.

We believe in acknowledging fear and the extent to which it rules us. We believe in facing that fear no matter what the cost to our comfort, our happiness, or even our sanity.

We believe in shouting for those who can only whisper, in defending those who cannot defend themselves.

We believe, not just in bold words but in bold deeds to match them. We believe that pain and death are better than cowardice and inaction because we believe in action.

We do not believe in living comfortable lives. We do not believe that silence is useful.

We do not believe in good manners.

We do not believe in empty heads, empty mouths, or empty hands.

We do not believe that learning to master violence encourages unnecessary violence.

We do not believe that we should be allowed to stand idly by. We do not believe that any other virtue is more important than bravery.


All that said.

Being dauntless is not easy. Its about accepting fear, accepting doubt and accepting your own demons. Or maybe its just about living with them.


”We never lose our demons. We only learn to live above them.”

Dr. Strange


Ok. Here is what I know about living dauntlessly. It sounds like a simple choice but it is not simple. I believe it was Jaime Lannister on the Game of Thrones who explained it the best:


So many vows… they make you swear and swear. Defend the king. Obey the king. Keep his secrets. Do his bidding. Your life for his. But obey your father. Love your sister. Protect the innocent. Defend the weak. Respect the gods. Obey the laws. It’s too much. No matter what you do, you’re forsaking one vow or the other.


No matter what you do, no matter which direction, or fear, or decision, you face; as you turn away from one thing you will end up facing another. You will forsake one thing to deal with another.

What this means to Dauntless is, well, you may as well take action. You may as well do something.

You may as well try to improve your station and lot in Life despite whatever fears you may have.


“If you pay attention to the present, you can improve upon it. And, if you improve on the present, what comes later will also be better…”

Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist.


 Look. As I have said a number of times the whole concept, the whole idea, the whole belief, of a fearless person is a lie. It is bullshit.

Sure. Some of the best of the fearless-like dauntless people have an inner fear compass which enables them to navigate fear little better than the rest of us everyday schmucks.

To be clear. They actually have dauntless guardrails which keeps them from chaos of ‘do anything just to do’ which truly only a psychologically screwed up person would ever embrace.  That means they don’t simply ignore fear & doubt; they accept it and manage it.


“There are very few monsters who warrant the fear we have of them.

Andre Gide


Look.   I am not suggesting that fear doesn’t exist I am simply suggesting we often permit fear to take on superhuman powers and intergalactic sizes in our minds. I am suggesting seeking to be successful through being dauntless means not eliminating fear but simply making it into bite sized portions more easily swallowed <or however you elect to deal with fear … that was just a suggestion>.


Here’s the deal.

All people fear failure.


Even the dauntless.

And anyone who tells you otherwise is lying.

It’s just that some people set it aside and strive to seek something that lies somewhere beyond the fear. Across the chasm as it were. That is what being dauntless is.

Remember. Fear is defined as the emotional response to an actual or perceived threat of immediate or imminent danger or pain.  The capacity to experience fear is part of human nature that has been hard-wired into us. And it is debilitating to most people. It is a fact that a large number of people suffer the often debilitating impacts of fear and anxiety. They suffer a sense of being overwhelmed and helplessness leading to an inability to take action or make changes.

Interestingly I believe we tend to tie bravery and courage with being able to overcome that helplessness brought on by fear.


I don’t think that’s right.

In most cases it is more about having the ability to see <or conceptualize> what is somewhere across the chasm and using that as the focal point to step toward. That’s not courage … that is simply focusing on what is important.

Or, let’s say, an ability to focus.

Or, let’s say, an ability to envision possibilities.

Or, let’s say, being dauntless.

The ability to keep going with their plan of action, in spite of feeling scared, because they were generally resolute in their decisions, knew the risks attached to what they were doing and in many cases believed that their actions served a larger cause for a greater good <and they had a chance of achieving an outcome they could be happy with>.

People like that don’t lessen the fear … they simply accept it … and focus on the objective.


Here is the true value of being dauntless: it enhances the chance to provide greater joy and expansiveness in other’s lives.

According to a psychologist quoted in a 2009 Psychology Today: the inaction that stems from excessive, irrational fears or fear-based thinking often shows up as a decision to live life from a “safe” position and not take risks, even if that means forsaking opportunities that might provide greater joy and expansiveness to one’s life.”

As for being dauntless?

What’s important is the action. We take action all the while seeking our own version of the Dauntless Manifesto.

And maybe that is the important closing thought. “My version of dauntless.”

Being Dauntless is a personal choice, personal decision and personal attitude. Comparing dauntlessness is stupid and wrong.

You version is yours, mine is mine. How we do dauntless isn’t comparable; it should only be judged by your reflection in the mirror. That is the only judge that counts.


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Written by Bruce