Fortune favors the bold. – Virgil

Not everyone makes a fortune in this life and the main reason for that is the lack of action. Many people want their lives to change but only a few are willing to actually have a practical action towards the change that they are looking for. Due to this reason, only a limited chunk of people are successful while the rest are not. Virgil says “Fortune Favors the Bold” which means that if life will turn the way you take it but it is important to take charge, accountability, and responsibility for it in a practical manner. Let’s take a deeper look at the analogy of this quote. 


Who was Virgil?

Virgil was one of the greatest poets in the Roman culture who lived between 15 October 70 BC and 21 September 19 BC. His full name was Publius Vergilius Maro which was shortened to Virgil. His most famous works include The Eclogues, The Georgics, and The Epic Aeneid. He wrote several short poems, long poems, minor poems, and western-influence poems as well. His works influenced many such as Dante’s Divine Comedy which allowed him to express himself in a better manner. 

A young Virgil was born as a peasant and had love of people in him rather than being materialistic. He got his education from several Greek and Roman authors and also received training in philosophy from various institutes. His teachers foresaw the young man having a talent for poetry which is why they focused more on him to polish his abilities. However, this wasn’t enough. If Virgil hadn’t made an effort himself, he wouldn’t have become one of the best poets from the Roman culture. It was his own effort, brave steps, and decisive actions which led him to success. 

Origin of this Quote

The Roman Poet said this quote in Latin which was later translated to English. The latin proverb goes “audentis fortuna iuvat”. This quote is said to be coming from Terence who said “Fortis Fortuna adiuvat”.  Terence was also a Roman Writer and used this expression for the first time. This was during the time of 190 to 159 BCE. It was also used in the writings of Ennius and Pliny the Elder as well. The main origin of this quote comes from Roman culture and writings which were then used. Some sources also suggest that the quote goes “Fortune favors the brave” instead of “Fortune favors the bold”. However, both of these are meant towards the same aspect and ideology. 

Latin calligraphy by Virgil

Meaning of this Quote

This quote provides an ideology about living life and making decisions. It offers several meanings as discussed below. 

Your Life is in Your Hands

The most important meaning of this quote is that your life is in your own hands. You are responsible for it and your actions. Keep it in mind that however you take your life, it will go that way. If you stay lazy and risk-aversive, most likely you are going to stay at the same place. However, if you become bold and take action to change it, only then will you be able to see an outcome. 

For example, many people stick themselves into jobs and don’t try to save money for making a business. Others, however, try to spend less and save more to take a risk of investing in a business. As a result, people going for jobs might be safe and have a good life but it takes a “bold action” of an entrepreneur to change his life into more than “just a good life”. A person doing a job might be able to earn $50,000 a year but a person who took a bold risk could earn 10X more. 

This is what the quote teaches us as well. If we aren’t bold about our actions, our thought processes, and our life, we cannot have an extraordinary life. The quote also explains that life changes for those who take any action to change it. It does not change for those who are not willing to make any effort towards the change.

Your life is in your hands

A famous quote by Bill Gates goes “If you are born poor, it isn’t your fault but if you die poor, it is your fault”. This quote also signifies the importance of bold efforts in life. Those who don’t move forward and stick to their actual places will never be able to come out of the tiny circle. Chinese Philosopher Lao Tzu also said “The Journey of a Thousand Miles Begins With One Step

Don’t Listen to Others

One of the main reasons why many people aren’t bold enough is because people around them don’t let them be bold enough. There are many around us who will let us down or try to bring us down and scare us every time. Some do this because they envy us while others are just too risk-aversive, just like the whole society. Most people who accomplished some form of success in their life did it all alone. They didn’t seek the validation of their idea from others. Even if they did, they focused more on their own core abilities rather than believing what others said to them.

This is a major reason why many people aren’t going beyond their mental limits. Others always hinder their way. For example, when Eminem, the famous singer, started to rap, he was criticized extensively for copying a black music style. He was called out many names, abused, and shamed as well. Prior to his singing career, he had several difficulties in the beginning as well. However, he stayed steadfast and took several bold steps throughout his life which helped him gain success. Today, Eminem is known as the King of Rap Music.  

Keep in mind that this does not mean that you can’t take advice from others. Do take advice from others and see how well it benefits you. Just be careful about the people you choose for taking advice from. Some are going to envy you and purposely give you a piece of advice to bring you down while others are going to be actually happy for you and will give you valuable advice as well. 

Stand Against Oppression

While this may not be a direct meaning from this quote, it is surely an important indirect message conveyed. Many people feel oppressed throughout their lives at the hands of those that can control them. This does not only include any physical oppression rather it includes mental health aspects as well. You can be oppressed by your partner, boss, manager, friends, or any other close relation in your life. The quote signifies that one must get out of the oppression by taking some bold actions in their life. 

For example, if a person feels that they are being overburdened by their boss, he should either quit the job or boldly talk to his boss about it. If he keeps on working in an over-burdened working, he is not going to get out of the situation. It is only the bold action he requires to bring himself a fortune by having acceptable working conditions. 

When Dr. Martin Luther King was jailed, he wrote a letter to his fellow followers that they should stand against oppression. His famous quote from the letter “We must use time creatively, in the knowledge that the time is always ripe to do right” became quite popular. 

Stand Against Oppression

Similar can be the case in relationships. If you feel that your partner is doing something that you don’t like, or it is something that is way out of limits, you need to talk to them about it. If that does not work, an even bold action, such as separation, would be another bold action. If you stay in a toxic relationship, you will be creating massive problems for yourself as well as for the other person. 

One of the biggest Hollywood controversies can be considered in this regards. The case of Johnny Depp and Amber Heard made the news. Prior to this point, due to the false personality image created by Amber Heard, people used to feel that Johnny Depp was wrong and was a domestic abuser. However, in the court, it was proved that it was Johnny Depp who was right while Amber Heard was wrong. The only important thing is that after so many years of toxicity in their relationship, Johnny finally took a stand to sue Amber Heard for the damage that she caused to his image and well-being. 


All of the above-provided themes lead us to one point and that is “Fortune Favors the Bold”. This quote by Virgil provides an ideology of how people should be taking actions in their life to bring a positive change in them. It highlights the importance of actions and how these actions can result in the betterment of our lives. From this quote, we should realize the fact that we can live life in an exceptional way and the only thing away from that is possibly one bold action. Edward J. Stieglitz also has the same point of view.