The dictionary defines dauntless as resolute courage, adding the dimensions of tenacious determination to the word courage.

It is courage to chart your own course, just as it is courage to keep walking it day after day even when you see no end in sight. It is courage to defy the world and choose the road less traveled, just as it is courage to ignore the jeering laughter of those who seek to weaken you. It is courage when experts declare that you’ll never make it and you continue nevertheless. It is courage to keep your vision untainted by the mud the world pelts on your vision.

I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It’s when you know you’re licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what.

~ Harper Lee (Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird)

It is dauntlessness when you would not lower your flag even when the world lets lose a barrage of cannon fire upon it. No, it is not defiance. Your motive is not to injure another. You are merely defending your right to hold on to your soul and let her lead you where she must. You are not attacking anyone; you are only protecting yourself from the attack of others. If they choose to take offense at it, so be it.

Dauntlessness speaks of a courage that doesn’t let go. It is courage in the morning and at night; in fair weather and foul; when things are going well and when they are a disaster. There is a permanence to it, an aspect of non- negotiable doughtiness that would break but not bend. It doesn’t sound at ALL easy to practice, specially if your acquaintance with basic courage is sporadic.

Yield not thy neck to fortune’s yoke, but let thy dauntless mind still ride in triumph over all mischance.

~ William Shakespeare

From what I have observed in people’s practice of courage, one thing stands out. People willfully dilute their ability to be courageous. They let the rust of pragmatism corrode the purity of their mettle. They tell themselves that courage is all very well for an ideal, text book scenario but that’s not real life. To them, real life is less than the life they dreamed of in their youth. Why, I don’t know. It is incomprehensible to me.

Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.

~ Anaïs Nin

You aren’t like that, I know. You are intrepid, tough and daring. Once you decide on a course of action, you don’t lose direction. When you meet rocky terrain, you don’t lose your drive. Your devotion to your North Star is unfailing. You know only your discipline will help you in fulfilling your destiny.

You are resolute in your courage. You are dauntless.


All you have to do is look straight and see the road, and when you see it, don’t sit looking at it-walk.

~ Ayn Rand

38 thoughts on “Dauntless”

  1. For a moment I thought that you’re going to talk about Dauntless from Divergent..

    Sigh, wouldn’t it be such a thing that people had courage for themselves

    1. People do have courage for themselves Hrishikesh. It may not be spectacular courage, it may not be accompanied with bugle calls and fanfare. But people are incredibly courageous in their unspectacular ways. And as often betray their capacity for it.

  2. Apropos to your comment message. It was not a trouble to read this but a pleasure. I agree word for word. Courage makes an immense difference to the quality of life, espcailly courage to do what is right. It’s the moment of truth. Once we experience that courage which comes from within and cross the threshold of fear, there is no looking back.

    1. And when you no longer feel the urge to look back, you know you are ready to face your future. Thank you Prathima! 🙂

  3. Thank you Dagny, for Dauntless and Compassion. Both topics were on mind and you put it so beautifully together.

    1. It is such a pleasure to see you here again Jayati! Thank you for taking the trouble to read. I am so thrilled that you could connect! How have you been? 🙂

  4. I’ve never been sure that courage was within me. but I have been resolute even though the world has been doubtful about me. This post has touched a chord with me, Dagny. The curious thing is, had that quote for To Kill a Mockingbird not been in the post, I’d have put it in the comment. Thank you.

    1. Then I am glad I spared you the trouble. Atticus Finch has steadfastly been my ideal for dauntlessness.

      I am happy you connected with this. Thank you for reading and for letting me know that it mattered to you. 🙂

  5. It is pretty daunting to talk about dauntless with such dauntlessness. I might like to add that I also made a daunting effort of dragging my feet from endless abyss of lethargy to get here and thus shown a gleaming example of dauntlessness. May I also point out that you quoted Shakespeare, which makes me love you even more. If only I was some decades older; but let me not resort to daunting recourses anymore and just bid my farewell for now before I am assigned with some daunting task.

  6. Dauntless has that feeling of fearlessness and perseverance.And I keep singing that song in my head Sister Suffragettes .. dauntless crusaders for women’s votes.

    1. Someday if you find time, I hope you will read Ayn Rand. Her thought process is amazingly lucid.
      Thanks for reading Afshan! 🙂

  7. Lovely post again… inspires one to heed the non pragmatic side of life…which is difficult but closer to soul.

  8. I find that people lack the courage to help others…to believe that they possess within them the power to help others. I agree when you said, they let the rust of pragmatism corrode the purity of the mettle. 🙂

  9. Wow never thought of the word that much. And now when I read it I realized how much it is a part of my life. Ofcourse I strive to be true to myself, to walk on the path that I chose for my life, to remain me but there are occasions when courage gives way to convenience and norms. May be it happens with everyone. I am happy that atleast I am aware of the direction. 🙂

    1. You are already ahead of 80% folks Sfurti. Most don’t even know they HAVE a direction… 🙂
      Thanks for reading! 🙂

  10. truly enjoyed reading the post, very thought provoking.

    this is so perfectly said “Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.” cant be understood better.

    also Shakespeare’s lines “It is dauntlessness when you would not lower your flag even when the world lets lose a barrage of cannon fire upon it.” reminds you that its always better to go down fighting rather than running away or surrendering your dignity and self respect.

    1. Rajlakshmi, Your comment gratifies me. I am pleased that my words are able to reach your heart. Thank you for letting me know. It matters to me tremendously! Thanks for reading! 🙂

  11. This is lovely! I like the way you have interwoven those quotes to fit in with the message. My favourite part is where you speak about how being dauntless can be misunderstood and how you have no control over that. Beautiful post!


    A to Z Challenge, 2014/ UBC, April 2014

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