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AloraCrimson's avatar

What does "Fortune Favors The Bold" mean?

Asked by AloraCrimson (503points) July 2nd, 2017

What does Fortune Favors The Bold mean, and do you agree with it? Why or why not?

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10 Answers

SavoirFaire's avatar

It means that one rarely succeeds without trying.

We often attribute success to luck, and luck oftentimes does have a lot to do with who is successful and who is not. Two people who put in an identical amount of effort and generate output of the same quality can still get different results. But someone who puts in no effort at all typically isn’t even in a position to get lucky. So as much as we might want to say that someone just got lucky, they still had to take a chance before fortune could smile on them. It’s a rare day when luck knocks on your door. We usually have to seek it out.

Zaku's avatar

It’s yet another truism that only applies when it applies, so I find I don’t really agree with it except as an occasionally funny remark or something to encourage action.

The idea is that if you take risks you can tend to gain opportunities.

It’s not so great in situations where caution is actually advisable. Fortune doesn’t always favor the bold. For example, when there’s an ambush and/or minefield ahead.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

It means that you must be bold in life, or it is doubtful you will get the things you want—the classes you want in a competitive school, the career you want, the job you want, the date or mate you want… It is a warning that things will rarely come to the passive. But it doesn’t mean one must be obnoxiously aggressive. It just means that passivity in these things is rarely rewarded. You must make an effort to get them.

The culture in the US is probably the most aggressive in the West concerning this. It was more relaxed in Sweden. An application for work or school was brief: Name, Address, Phone, Email, Person Number. Position Desired.

The Person Number, much like our Social Security Number, was all that was really needed. By punching in that number, a licensed HR person or school administrator would have access to your vital statistics, scholastic and work record. There was no opportunity for juggling data, obfuscation or exaggeration on the applicant’s part. The admin had all the data they needed to make their decision to hire you or whether or not you were qualified to take the classes you requested. It was routine, simple and not rife with stress as this process can be in the states.

Then, there was the interview. The interviews were always relaxed. They already knew your intention and your qualifications, now it was time to find out what kind of personality they had on their hands—if you would be easy to work with, if you wished to enter personal and work references into the record, if you had any details to add, how much did you know about the company or school you wished to enter. The interviewer wanted to feel out your interest level. The interviews had the feeling of a friendly chat. They were interested in how calm, intelligent and level headed the applicant was. These were the values that were most respected in that culture.

Moving back to the States threw me into a totally different culture where “Moxy” and “Aggressive Self-Starter” and “No Excuses” were the words and qualities that were most valued. I didn’t get the first two jobs I was after in the States because I wouldn’t lower myself to unabashedly bragging about my past experience. There was no need for that where I came from. Blowing one’s own horn was not a desired characteristic in the culture I had come from. It was considered rude and revealed a deep-seated insecurity. They had a saying there: The loudest person in the room is the weakest. But, if I was going to get what I wanted, I would have to adapt, or got back to Europe. So, I adapted.

I agree that this adage is useful in the States.

LuckyGuy's avatar

That is only true when it works. When it doesn’t, people say “The meek shall inherit the Earth.”

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

It simply means you will often have to take personal risks or take the harder path in order to have a better chance at being successfull.

LostInParadise's avatar

Boldness is not so much about putting in effort or trying different things as it is about taking risks. Being risky implies that there may be devastating results if the person does not succeed. Since we tend to be risk averse, we may exaggerate the damage that will come with failing, and so there may be some truth to the statement.

Strauss's avatar

@Espiritus_Corvus The loudest person in the room is the weakest.

And the corollary to that should be The person with the most tweets is considered the loudest.

marinelife's avatar

With risk comes reward.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@LuckyGuy Indeed! For every platitude, there is an equal and opposite cliché.

@LostInParadise “Boldness is not so much about putting in effort or trying different things as it is about taking risks.”

These are not mutually exclusive categories. Putting in effort risks wasting that effort. Trying different things risks the unknown being inadequate or unsatisfying.

stanleybmanly's avatar

@LuckyGuy gets the gist of the flaw with the expression. I have a 2 volume biography of. Custer titled “Favor the Bold”. I guess it depends on how you define “bold”, but it sounds to me like “you gotta take risks.” It seems to me the sentiment leans toward siding with decisiveness in preference to rational thought. So which is it to be: “he who hesitates is lost” or “look before you leap”?

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