Be Your Own Hero: Take Risks, Face Your Fears and Choose Courage – Ryan Holiday with Dave Asprey – #868

Everyone experiences fear, but you don’t have to let it control you. A modern-day philosopher shows you how to choose courage in the face of fear.

Photo credit: Dawson Carroll

IN THIS EPISODE OF BULLETPROOF RADIO… you’ll discover what it takes to be courageous and heroic in your own life.

The Spartans used to build temples to fear. They did so to keep fear close, see its power and ward it off. Modern-day philosopher Ryan Holiday is here to tell you how to do that in your own modern life by using courage to overcome fear.

“You can have that reaction [to fear], but then you also realize, if you don’t act on it, if you push through, there’s often something on the other side of it,” Ryan says. “Or you realize that the more you expose yourself to it, the less scary it is each time and the less perhaps even that you feel that thing.”

Everyone experiences fear, but those who can learn to go beyond it will find room for courage. His most recent book, Fear is Calling: Fortune Favors the Brave is compelling and empowering. It breaks down what it means to confront fear, courage and heroism in order to discover your own grace and wisdom.

We talk about how to transform fear into courage and the power of choosing the relationship you have with fear.

“Man, people get really uncomfortable when something that they were told by their parents, or their church, or their society, or their social media, and all of a sudden, they face profound evidence that it’s not true,” Ryan says.

Pulling stories from some of the greatest humans in history he talks about how heroism can change the world, and how history can help guide you through contemporary phenomena rooted in fear, like cancel culture and government mandates.

This is the first book in Ryan’s new series on the four virtues of the ancient world: courage, temperance, justice, and wisdom.

Don’t miss Ryan’s previous visit to Bulletproof Radio and the discussion about stoicism and ego: Modern Stoicism & Crushing your Ego: Ryan Holiday #527

Enjoy! Got a comment, idea or question for the podcast? Submit via this form.

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Follow Along with the Transcript

Be Your Own Hero: Take Risks, Face Your Fears and Choose Courage – Ryan Holiday with Dave Asprey – #868


Book: “Courage Is Calling: Fortune Favors the Brave
Bulletproof Radio: Modern Stoicism & Crushing your Ego: Ryan Holiday #527

Key Notes

  • You’ve written so many cool books. And one of my favorites is about what it takes to create a great book or a great work of art. – 1:43
  • Fear is a constant of the human experience. We’re afraid of what other people think. We’re afraid of losing our lives.  – 8:59
  • Half a million people don’t die every year of speaking in front of crowds. That is the good news. So we’ve always had this tendency to be really scared of things that pose very little danger to us that if we couldn’t master, would allow us to get closer to whatever it is that we wanted to do in life.  – 13:06
  • The Stoics say events are objective, then we tell ourselves a story about them. And this story often determines what we’re going to be able to do.  – 16:36
  • In the Stoic teachings, there’s courage, temperance, justice, and wisdom, four big things. Are you planning the next book is temperance, and then justice, and then wisdom?  – 22:55
  • To pursue ideas, whether it’s history or science, is inherently a scary pursuit because you’re going to find things you don’t like, whether it’s about human beings or about our biology.  – 27:05
  • How do we encourage scientists to have courage? Did you come up with a special recipe for that? Because we need more scientific courage right now.  – 29:57
  • Can you describe courage and what it looks like, what it feels like, how you would write about it?  – 32:52
  • Talk to me about bravery versus sacrifice. And there’s so many aspects to courage as a big bucket, and you go into those in the book.  – 38:32
  • It’s both an existential and a practical question of, where does one person’s freedom begin to impede on another person’s freedom?  – 47:55
  • There’s a great line in Lincoln’s second inaugural address where he basically goes, this has been a horrible civil war that we’ve just engaged in.  – 55:38
  • I would love to live in a world where responsible people did the responsible thing because they saw it as part of their values.  – 1:02:17
  • I would say almost everything that we’re experiencing today has some historical antecedent. – 1:08:33

If you like today’s episode, check us out on Apple Podcasts at and leave us a (hopefully) 5-star rating and a creative review.

Go check out my new book Super Human: The Bulletproof Plan to Age Backward and Maybe Even Live Forever and also “Game Changers“, “Headstrong” and “The Bulletproof Diet” on Amazon and consider leaving a review!

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