Updated: Jul 11
This article is to explain what foritude is, how I have personally built fortitude through my own personal experiences and what I plan to do moving forward helping encourage people to find the courage to go through adversity and know what it means to live with fortitude.
Me - 3 Months Old.
What Is Fortitude?
Latin fortitudo "strength, force, firmness, manliness," from fortis "strong, brave"
Given the description above I think we can agree that fortitude is built through experiences both good and bad. To me, fortitude is a character trait that is the amalgamation of security, guidance, wisdom and power. Security in understanding where we are intrinsically growing our ability to deal with situations that surface in our lives. Guidance in the forms of mentoring, coaching and counselling from others around us who have been through similar situations and praying to Christ for His help. Wisdom from our own experiences and people who have gone before us, and power through our assertiveness and confidence in ourselves to execute our plans to come to fruition.
Do I regret times in my life? Yes, but, a big but…. I have fortunately had many people, good friends and family around me to care for me and help me learn, even through the most challenging situations - my mum being diagnosed with a terminal illness, being trolled online relentlessly, and being mocked by so-called friends just to name a few.
As M Scott Peck writes in the first 3 words of his book in The Road Less Travelled “Life is difficult.” How do we get through challenges that sometimes feel neverending? With fortitude.
Fighting For Fortitude
When my twin sister and I were born, we had a lot of problems, which I’m discovering to be increasingly common between twins; we were 3 months premature. I weighed a little less than her at 1 pound and three ounces, just over the size of a bag of sugar, and two weeks before the legal abortion limit. For three months I fought for survival. I have the injection scars on my hands and feet and there are stretch marks all over my body. I was the same height as a pint glass, and could almost fit into the palm of someone's hands, but now a tall (ish) 5ft 7”. Both my sister and I were born and taken into incubators, didn’t receive human touch for a month, and separated, which left some psychological damage.
You must be asking the question “Jack, why are you sharing this?” Because it’s a personal example of fortitude that I have to share, that I have lived through. Admittedly for two weeks I struggled to find what to write about, having written about my experience with my mum facing cancer in the From Cancer To Courage article. After a lot of thought I wanted to share because people can relate through their personal experiences.
Fortitude Is Built Through Suffering, Uncertainty & Fear
There have been many examples of people's fortitude through situations. A year and a half ago Lighthouse International Group, the company that I am a part of as an associate partner, have been relentlessly trolled by ex-members who didn’t get a refund that they weren’t due. So in an attempt to try and get back their financial investment in themselves that they didn’t use, they started to try to assassinate our characters, livelihoods and future business through spreading lies. Which turned into a toxic illegitimate feeding frenzy on us, Lighthouse International, for significance. You can read more about their false accusations here.
Turning To Christ For Guidance
Initially I wanted to run and avoid the trolling and focus on my own growth and development but because it was so relentless I turned to Christ to find strength in absolute truth. Through building my connection with Him in prayer, as many of us did, we found strength in the disarray and used it to become a leading authority on trolling. Paul Waugh, Head Mentor of Lighthouse International Group, helped me to see that there is great opportunity in challenges that we face, to not try to divert around problems but instead go through them. With this being said, we have set up projects helping children and parents stand up to bullying which you can see here.
You can’t learn fortitude in a book, it’s something that is lived, it can’t be taught in class. It is through experience that we learn fortitude. Many people go through challenges but they don’t know what they are building through. It's challenging to understand how we build strength in the moment but coming through the other side we are able to learn to deal with crushing situations. That is fortitude, the commitment to persevering any challenge however big or small, and with that fortitude to teach others how you have learned, to influence them to face challenges in their own lives as I am doing here with you. If you want to get in touch with me or share your own personal fortifying experience in how you came to build fortitude and strength, security and mettle through all areas of your life or would like help in doing so please email me on firstname.lastname@example.org. Kindest, Jack