“The best people possess a feeling for beauty, the courage to take risks, the discipline to tell the truth, the capacity for sacrifice. Ironically, their virtues make them vulnerable.” – Ernest Hemingway

Hemingway’s quote points out a tension that each one of us faces. To achieve things, you have to be willing to be vulnerable.

  • Having “a feeling for beauty” means to me that you have a tender heart. Beautiful music, sights, and interactions make your heart sing. On the other hand, corruption, deceit, disunity, and cruelty can cause deep sadness.
  • Being a risk taker brings rewards greater than those attained by the safe stay-out-of-the-fray folks. You may fall down. You may fail. But risk takers know the taste of a risk rewarded is well worth the mediocre outcomes of never taking them.
  • Speaking the truth is the outcome sought by “courageous communicators.” Occasionally the truth spoken will strain relationships and cause disappointment. But truth sets us free. It clears the way. The best people know to champion the truth is worth the short-term pain it can cause.
  • The best people sacrifice. They put others before themselves. They delay gratification. They do the nitty gritty work of weeding and fertilizing because they know it bears the best fruit.

Vulnerable? Yes. But the virtues that Hemingway describes create a rich life.