Fortitude by Dan Crenshaw
Fortitude – American Resilience in the Era of Outrage tells the story of Navy SEAL and United States Representative from Texas, Dan Crenshaw. But more than that, this book is a model of how to thrive cancel culture and self pity to led a happy and productive life.
Each chapter mixes Crenshaw’s life experiences with sound advice backed by a variety of expert sources. Some of this advice includes stillness, that is slowing your responses down to avoid a quick, emotional response to a situation. Dan also gives permission to “sweat the small stuff”.
This sound advice encourages the use of humor to deal with the “small stuff” instead of bottling it up. Society is losing its basic sense of humor and sarcasm. Without laughter, we are bitter and angry. And anger is dividing the country more and more.
In Fortitude we also get plenty of examples of why attention to detail is so important. When we pay attention to little, even those perceived as pointless, details, we have a greater chance to pay attention to the big, important ones. This ability means life or death in combat, but matters in all areas of life. I understand this fully when riding a horse.
Mr. Crenshaw also says a lot about doing hard work and not having a “Plan B”. As for as no plan B, this is useful when pursuing a big goal. If you allow yourself an out, when you decide to quit you’ve already justified that decision ahead of time. Crenshaw distinguishes clearly the difference between failure and quitting. You can and will fail. But quitting means you chose your plan B.
Overall, Dan makes a great argument here. I do think that people must have a little caution here. You can have lofty goals, but a lot of people struggle to separate their ambition from their obligation. This can lead to failed marriages and other problems if you can’t find the right balance.
But this focus combines nicely with the pursuit of hard work. This doesn’t have to be purely physical, but it helps. And it doesn’t have to be something huge. Put yourself in controlled, uncomfortable situations helps you grow. It makes you stronger when you need to face even larger difficulties. Complacency is so easy with all the comforts we have. Then actual bad situations look gigantic in comparison.
The great thing about doing hard work and giving yourself no room to quit means you are sure to grow. And growth leads to fulfillment which is another way of saying happiness.
The overall point of the book is that each person needs to put the control of their life in their own hands and not in the government. Bad stuff happens as does good stuff. It is how we react to each situation that will lead to how we grow and better ourselves. Despite all the luxuries and wonderful choices, the freedom to pursue all sorts of goals, collectively, people are unhappier than they were in previous generations.
Fortitude paints a positive picture on how individuals can pursue happiness, not be outraged, and live a life worthwhile. He ends the book with a nice recap of what the American story is and how we must protect that story. This doesn’t mean to sweep away any actual grievances that have occurred in our history. Quite the contrary. What Crenshaw, and America’s founding truly mean are spelled out completely in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.
Pair this book with Senator Ben Sasse’s Them. Both books have similar themes on how to survive the declining culture and how to improve ourselves. These books aren’t “self help” books by any means. They are much better than that.