On a day like today, about 15 years ago, I experienced fear as I’ve never experienced throughout my whole life; I came super close to being in the line of fire between armed military conflict in what I could call a mini-civil war that happened in Beirut in May 2008;
It was around 1:00 AM, I can still remember the loud sound of firearms getting closer and closer to the building I lived in, and then the armed groups were in the building itself and on their way up, floor by floor until they had a battle at one floor that included explosive and machine guns. Then they continued until they reached my door. I was hiding with a friend, trying not even to breathe loudly as we feared that would be our last; imagine that you are literally one WALL, One Door away from your inevitable dark destiny.
That night was one of the longest in my life, and while many details happened during and after, I can just summarize that I have experienced fear and appreciation of life very deeply, and surviving that trauma and experience, taught me so much that I still carry through during my personal and professional life.
In the spirit of my memory, I wanted today to explore the famous proverb “Fortune Favors the Bold” and how it has inspired countless business leaders to achieve success. We’ll dive into the origins of this ancient wisdom and then look at some modern examples of entrepreneurs who have embodied this principle in their journeys to the top.
“audentes Fortuna iuvat” ~ Virgil, The Aeneid
The proverb “Fortune Favors the Bold” has its roots in ancient Roman times. The phrase is derived from the Latin expression “audentes Fortuna iuvat”, which was used by the famous Roman poet Virgil in his epic work, The Aeneid. In the poem, the hero Aeneas is encouraged by the gods to take risks and face his fears in order to fulfill his destiny. This principle of embracing courage and daring in the face of uncertainty has since been passed down through the ages and has become a guiding principle for many successful individuals. There are so many examples of how leaders were bold in their decisions and actions, and as a result, they changed the world; my favorite would certainly be how Steve Jobs and the iPhone.
Steve Jobs, the co-founder and former CEO of Apple, was a prime example of boldness in the face of a mature market. When the first iPhone was introduced in 2007, the mobile phone industry was dominated by well-established players like Nokia, BlackBerry, and Motorola. However, Jobs was not deterred by the seemingly saturated market. Instead, he saw an opportunity to revolutionize the way people interacted with their mobile devices.
One of the most significant ways Jobs demonstrated his boldness was by creating a product that combined multiple functionalities into a single device. The iPhone was not just a phone, but also a music player, a web browser, and a camera. This innovative approach challenged the status quo and forced competitors to rethink their product offerings.
Furthermore, Jobs was fearless in creating a unique and intuitive user interface that would redefine the mobile phone experience. With the introduction of the touchscreen, he eliminated the need for a physical keyboard and buttons, making the iPhone a game-changer in terms of usability and design.
Another bold move by Jobs was the creation of the App Store, which opened up a whole new world of possibilities for developers and users alike. This platform allowed third-party developers to create applications for the iPhone, transforming it into a versatile, customizable device. The App Store fueled the growth of the smartphone app ecosystem and solidified Apple’s position as an industry leader.
In summary, Steve Jobs’ boldness in positioning the iPhone as a global success can be attributed to his ability to challenge conventional wisdom, embrace innovation, and create a product that revolutionized the mobile phone industry. By taking risks and pushing boundaries, Jobs demonstrated the power of “Fortune Favors the Bold” in the face of a mature market.
Other examples of leaders that embody the proverb “Fortune Favors the Bold”
- Elon Musk – Tesla and SpaceX: Elon Musk’s journey to becoming a global entrepreneur is a testament to the power of boldness. His decision to invest in electric cars and space exploration, industries that were once deemed risky and unprofitable, has paid off in a big way. Musk’s fearlessness and unwavering vision have led to groundbreaking achievements such as the launch of the Falcon Heavy rocket and the establishment of Tesla as a market leader in electric vehicles.
- Richard Branson – Virgin Group: Sir Richard Branson is another example of a business leader who has achieved great success by embracing the “Fortune Favors the Bold” mentality. The Virgin Group founder has never shied away from taking risks, whether it’s starting his own airline or venturing into space tourism. Branson’s willingness to challenge conventional wisdom and take on established industries has earned him a reputation as a maverick entrepreneur.
- Sheryl Sandberg – Facebook: Sheryl Sandberg, the Chief Operating Officer of Facebook, has shown that boldness and determination can lead to significant achievements in the business world. Sandberg’s advocacy for women’s empowerment and leadership, as outlined in her best-selling book “Lean In”, has inspired countless women to pursue their own ambitions. By fearlessly tackling issues like gender inequality in the workplace, Sandberg has solidified her position as a trailblazer in the tech industry.
So for this week’s tip, remember that the timeless proverb “Fortune Favors the Bold” serves as a powerful reminder that success often comes to those who are willing to take risks and embrace the unknown. As we face the challenges of our own lives and careers, let’s remember to be courageous and seize the opportunities that come our way.
So, be bold, embrace the uncertainty, and watch as fortune smiles upon you. See you next week for another edition of “The Monday Tip”!
Have a wonderful week,