Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Got Hardihood?

Some good questions over at The Art of Manliness to determine whether one possesses the quality of hardihood.  To my mind, hardihood seems much like the cardinal virtue of fortitude -- with perhaps the added requirement that the man exhibiting hardihood relish the idea and reality of courageous exploits.
  • Have I “stout and persistent courage” or am I only courageous under excitement or stimulation of some kind?
  • Do I have to screw up my courage to meet difficult situations?
  • Am I conscious of being mentally and physically rugged?
  • Do I challenge hardships or do I try to avoid hardships and difficulties by following “the line of least resistance?”
  • Do I hesitate about trying out my powers in unused directions that demand fortitude or courage?
  • Have I the courage to blaze new lines of action when success seems reasonably certain or do I wait until others have occupied the “strategic positions?”
  • Does the element of personal risk in sports, travel, adventures or vocations count greatly with me?
  • Does that which is unknown or untried affright or allure me?
  • As a child, did heroic deeds thrill me and was it my ambition to emulate them or was I an afraid to-dive youngster?
  • Am I attracted or repelled by the hazardousness of life-saving callings?
  • Am I resolute and clear-headed in the presence of imminent danger or do I quail or become panic-stricken?
  • As boy or man, have I ever shown individual heroism or is my bravery always of the mass or mob kind?
  • Do I struggle to master matters that test all of my resources?
  • Can I stand and profit by severe criticism when I have been or seem to have been at fault?
  • Do I, if necessary, court severe discipline as a preparatory course for a desired vocation or do I pamper myself and like to be coddled by others?
  • Do I strive for personal efficiency, grasp at opportunities and recognize my right to advancement?
  • Do I rebound quickly from defeat?
  • Am I indifferent to supercilious fault-finding?
  • Do I enjoy being in contests of fortitude and endurance and in intellectual combats?
  • If I were a candidate for some elective office would defeat dishearten me or should I reckon each successive defeat as preparation for final victory?
  • When confronted with unexpected difficulties in anything that I have undertaken, is my first impulse, or reaction, the desire to back down or to go ahead with greater energy than before?
  • Do I stand by the presumption that I am to succeed, even when things look blackest?
  • Have I a persistent resolution when once a careful judgment has been made?
  • In making purchases—whether of neckties or machinery equipments—do I inspect the goods under consideration and form independent opinion of their merits or am I influenced unconsciously in my decisions by what I think the salesman may think of me?
  • Do I sometimes accept less than I know I should for services rendered because I lack the stamina to stand up for my rights?
I think my answers to many of these questions fall short, and others are of such a hypothetical nature that it's impossible for me to predict how I would behave or feel.  Of course certain aspects of hardihood, such as "standing up for one's rights", can run contrary to other Christian virtues and must be exercised with caution and moderation.  All in all, however, hardihood strikes me as an eminently enjoyable word to write and say -- and an admirable quality for a man to cultivate in himself and his sons.

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