As mentioned in a recent post, my son Pätrick Henry Cripps is going through Marine Boot Camp in South Carolina. Today, he is enduring Day 11 of the most difficult time of his life. As I await a mailing address, I am writing daily about traits which are important to the real men of this world. This article on fortitude is dedicated to him.

Fortitude is a rare virtue. It is backbone. It is grit. It is kahunas!

Noah Webster, in his 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language defines fortitude as “That strength or firmness of mind or soul which enables a person to encounter, or to bear pain or adversity without murmuring, depression or despondency. Fortitude is the basis or source of genuine courage or intrepidity in danger, of patience in suffering, of forbearance under injuries, and of magnanimity in all conditions of life.”

You see, it is a rare form of strength. The Latin root of fortitude is where we get our English word, fort. It is bearing up against all the world sends your way. It is the ability and willingness to face fear, pain, danger, uncertainty, or intimidation in a spirit of true courage. It is to do your duty in all things, regardless of odds.

Fortitude - Rock of Gibraltar

Stand Tall in the midst of all the little pissants!

How foreign this sounds to modern man. The warm and fuzzies of the world constantly proclaim we are all equal. While we should all be equal before the law, there is nothing else equal about us. From my observatory, most of modernity is filled with fear and cowardice, apathy and lethargy, timidity and irresolution.

What separates the real men and women of the world from the pissants is fortitude. It is bravery and courage, boldness and determination, patience and perseverance, tenacity and mettle. Does that sound unloving? Get over it! Are you offended? Then do something about it! Get off your sofas and recliners and go conquer the world.

Ah, but people like the safety zone. It requires little courage and effort to pitch the tent there. People want a lot. They talk much about what all they would like to have or achieve, but it’s all idle talk. People dream, but yet remain asleep.

The reason most people’s dreams stay only in their heads is because they lack the fortitude to make them a reality. They embrace the safety zone because they fear uncertainty. It affects all areas of their lives. They lack the fortitude to continue education or increase skills in a trade. They lack the fortitude to leave a bad job and search for a better one. They lack the fortitude to leave a bad situation, and worse, they lack the fortitude to say why.

Fortitude usage

Usage of the word “Fortitude” is rapidly disappearing from books and articles…

It’s always the easy road, the path of least resistance. Let’s don’t exert much energy. Let’s don’t cause any trouble. Let’s don’t ruffle any feathers. Don’t let my hammer dance out of step*.

Just look at some of the things I’ve written about lately. Accomplishing any of these lofty things requires fortitude. People lack the fortitude to discipline themselves: to exercise and take care of their bodies, to give themselves to critical thinking and working their brain, to know when to hold and when to fold the wallet. People lack the fortitude to discipline their children. People lack the fortitude to tell a bad friend to sod off. Today, even cooking some of my recipes from scratch requires the fortitude of staying away from the microwave…and Burger King.

Fortitude - George Patton

My Son’s Hero: General George S. Patton

But the true men and women of the world can summon the power from deep within. They will awake from their dreams and pursue them. They will go through the boot camps of discipline to prepare themselves. They will gather their tools and weapons, and Lord help anyone or anything that gets in their way. All the pissants who wish to sit in the bleachers on the sidelines and chant “boo,” can sod off.

It may sound arrogant, but true fortitude is totally void of any such disgusting vice. It may seem unloving but coming from a recovering pissant, it is the only true love in the world. Being honest, determined, hard-working, and audacious bears open your heart and shows the love you have for the good things in this world. The “love” others talk about is nothing more than touchy-feely bullshit! Being the absolute best you can be creates envy. Never lower yourself to the level of defending yourself. It would only fall on deaf ears anyway. The only hope for the pissant is embracing the truth.

Pätrick, I consider you a man already. I know you have more maturing to do, but I am assured a lot of it is happening as I write. It is from your namesake, Patrick Henry the patriot, that I learned much about fortitude. Be true to that name, be true to God, make your father proud, and always be a real man…a man of fortitude!


*Pätrick knows the meaning of this. Think Pink Floyd The Wall and Kerry Livgren’s Odyssey Into The Mind’s Eye.