How to Fight a Hydra: Face the Fears, Follow the Ambition, and Become the Hero You Destined to Be: Awesome summary by ebookhike

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Author: Josh Kaufman 

How to Fight a Hydra: Face Your Fears, Pursue Your Ambitions, and Become the Hero You Are Destined to Be Josh Kaufman 2018

How to Fight a Hydra
How to Fight a Hydra

A project like a hydra: the adventure begins (How to Fight a Hydra)

How to Fight a Hydra: Josh Kaufman came up with the idea for this book when he was looking for new ways to increase productivity. Working through several drafts in parallel for a year, he came to the conclusion that it was impossible to fundamentally solve the problems of stress and procrastination while working on a large project. They can’t be avoided with yet another way to track tasks, a fancy notebook, an app, or a habit. “We live in an uncertain, complex, ambiguous world with changing demands, unexpected (often unwanted) events, and variable income. We want the world to obey our desires, but the world is not obligated to give us what we want,” writes Kaufman. 

Therefore, no matter who we are, what we do, and what resources we have, we are forced to learn to live with the uncertainty of the result, the unpredictability of an unhindered path to victory (with a maximum reward for minimum effort or cost), and fear of the future. But you can use these factors to your advantage. To do this, you need to look at them from the side. For this purpose, Kaufman used a metaphor to help identify potential errors and generate useful approaches and ideas. He presented an ambitious complex project not as an abstract challenge, but as a concrete being. Since he loves epic fantasy stories from novels, the virtual catacombs in the Warcraft and Diablo video games, and tabletop role-playing games like Dungeons and Dragons, he found a suitable monster – the Lernean hydra, the victory over which was listed in the list of 12 labors of Hercules. The battle with the hydra is the struggle with the obstacles or problems that arise in the process of work. The author explored the topic of productivity from the point of view of an experienced hydra killer adventurer.

• How would he approach a difficult challenge? • How would he deal with fear and anxiety? • How would he prevent mistakes? • What would he learn to appreciate after gaining hard-won experience?  
As a result, Kaufman has a fictional story that summarizes most of the ideas from different areas of knowledge: philosophy, project management, behavioral psychology, martial arts, military doctrine, and systems theory. Sources for writing it were Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations, Stephen Pressfield’s The War for Creativity, Be Afraid… But Act! Susan Jeffers, The Book of Five Rings by Miyamoto Musashi, Certain to win by Chet Richards, the ancient Indian poem Bhagavad Gita translated by Stephen Mitchell, and The Metaphors We Live By by George Lakoff and Mark Johnson. In particular, at the beginning of his book, Kaufman cites the following quote and caption to it:

“The warrior and the artist live by the same code of necessity, which dictates that the battle must be fought every day anew.” 

How to Fight a Hydra

S was given Pressfield,
author of The War for Creative,
Veteran Hydra Fighter

The author of the allegorical story warns that “any resemblance to real events, places, living and dead people, or predatory multi-headed snake monsters is coincidental.” You can ask questions or share your impressions about what you have read by writing to

Part 1. Purpose

In Josh Kaufman’s fictional story, a man on the dusty shelves of an antique shop in Bucharest discovered a manuscript. Its pages were water-damaged, and the scale body and binding were in a terrible state. The book was written in the first person in the Aroman language, similar to Romanian but with Greek influences. The author’s name, age, gender, exact location, and date of writing are unknown, but the language style and quality of the paper indicated a period between the late 11th and early 12th century AD. The buyer translated the book into English, reformulating the phrases to make the text accessible to modern readers.

The protagonist of the story told in the manuscript is a scribe. He, like the heroes of antiquity, decided to kill the hydra and take her treasures. 

“Adventure is dangerous, but if I continue my current course of living as I always have, I will go crazy. Stop sitting in a dusty room hunched over a desk with clenched, ink-smeared fingers. I’m not sure about this ambition, but it’s important to me. If I don’t act, I’ll regret it. For better or worse, I have to do it.”

How to Fight a Hydra

Parents and friends dissuaded him from this venture. The father and mother claimed that their family was prosperous, so there was no point in looking for trouble, chasing fame, wasting time training, and risking their lives with no guarantee of success. Friends expressed similar concerns: “Be reasonable. You are not Hercules, you are not a mighty warrior or a powerful sorcerer. This is a task for people of destiny. You are a scribe. Why do you think you can do this?” When the hero told his mentor about his plans, he just shook his head and held out another scroll for rewriting. “Legends have reached you. Don’t want what you can’t achieve.” 

All these people were afraid that this would be a terrible decision for the hero: he would sacrifice a lot and get nothing, he would be harmed or he would die. They were also afraid that he would succeed.

“What if I manage to kill the hydra and become world famous? What if I become the owner of huge treasures that surpass their wealth and status? What if experience changes me? If I try and they don’t, what does that say about them?”

How to Fight a Hydra

Despite this, he made the decision to go ahead with his plans: 

“I can’t control the outcome, but I can control myself: how I prepare, deal with my fears and conduct myself in battle.”

How to Fight a Hydra

The hero did not know as much about the hydra as he would like. He had never seen it with his own eyes, only heard stories from scrolls and books, tavern tales, minstrels, and bard songs. The hydra is said to be fearsome not because of its scaly hide, pungent stench, or rows of dagger-like teeth, but because of its many writhing predatory snakeheads. The battle with the hydra is not a battle with one opponent, it is a battle with many opponents at the same time. The legend says that if you cut off one head of a hydra, then two will grow instead of it if you do not burn the wound with a torch in time. He decided to follow the example of Hercules, who won in this way. 

What else distinguishes a hydra? She is rare. Otherwise, it could be seen in the forests and villages. She must live in the deep dark corners of the world, beyond the boundaries known to ordinary people. The hero concluded that he himself should go to the hydra since she would not come to him. The search should begin in places where it is more convenient for the monster to hide – in the wilds and caves. 

The scribe did not trust his fate with unreliable tools and bought a simple but well-made sword and grindstone, and also learned how to make torches from tallow and pine resin that burn brightly and for a long time. He started exercising to become strong enough to use a sword and fast enough to use a torch to dodge enemy blows. 

“This training is not natural for me. The sword is heavy in my hand and my feet are too slow. I have to train.”

How to Fight a Hydra

In addition, he began to improve his physical strength and stamina in order to overcome fatigue and injury in grueling combat. He began to learn patience, persistence, and develop the willpower to get things done. After all, the power of the spirit extends to the mind and emotions.

“I’m afraid, but that’s no reason to avoid the beast. Courage means acting in spite of fear. I’m leaving at dawn.”

How to Fight a Hydra

Part 2. Tests

For most of the first day, the hero searched for caves on the outskirts of mountain forests. He took with him on the journey only a horse, a sword, a bunch of torches, old leather armor, writing materials, and a book with blank pages – a farewell gift from his employer-mentor. 

“It would be nice to have more, but I can manage,” he wrote by the firelight, a welcome rest after a day in the saddle.

How to Fight a Hydra

The second day he spent hiding under a pine tree, hugging his horse and shivering from the cold and damp as it rained. It was too wet to start a fire. On top of that, he was out of food.

Studying the wilderness for a week, he saw no progress. Every day the hero was forced to hunt and get food, which reduced the time to search for the hydra.

One day he found a cave in a small valley, the entrance to which was hidden by a thick blackberry bush. The light from the entrance reached the back wall, illuminating the hard floor and a scattering of rotting bones. If there ever was a hydra or treasure in this cave, they have long since disappeared. He began to doubt that he would find the monster and even thought about returning home.

“I guess that’s what adventure is all about. You know what you want, but the only way to get it is to give up what you know, go out into the world and trust experience, skill and luck.”

How to Fight a Hydra

Gradually, the hero got used to the routine. In the morning he ate, did exercises, trained to wield a sword and a torch, then packed his things and searched for the hydra for several hours. After a day’s travel, he foraged for food and hunted and collected pine resin and firewood. Later, through daily practice, he became more confident in swinging a heavy sword and lighting torches faster in the evenings.

“The routine is soothing. I don’t have to make new decisions about what to do every day. At first I found hunting and prey daunting. Once I realized that the support of my body was necessary to win, this work no longer bothered me.

How to Fight a Hydra

The hero explored several more caves, each containing nothing but rocks, mold, and a thick layer of bat droppings. He lost track of time, his mood began to deteriorate every day. He started talking to his horse. “Iolaus has nothing to say, but he is an excellent listener,” the hero wrote.

Once a pack of wolves began to pursue the hero and the horse. 

“They are sneaking closer and closer, waiting for an opportunity to strike. The only thing that keeps them at a distance is the torch lit at dusk and my night fire. The howl keeps me awake and I tremble with terror. It is difficult to feel calm in a godforsaken place and see the direction when there are thousands of places where you can hide from danger. But every time I am tempted to complain about the difficulties and injustices of life, I remind myself that I knew how hard it would be before I left home, and that there is no victory without a fight. I have to keep going and hope for the best.”

How to Fight a Hydra

Finally, the hero found the hydra.

Part 3. Battle

He was led to the hydra by the unpleasant smell of the remains of large prey after the feast of a giant predator. A putrid stench spread from a cave that went deep into the earth. The hero stood at the entrance for several hours, listening, until he heard the sound of something huge moving in the darkness. The hero set up camp in a safe niche near the mountain, away from the hydra’s lair. It took him three days to muster up the courage to enter the cave. 

“I have to admit that I don’t really want to go there. I always have a reason to stay late: I need to sharpen my sword, make better torches, I didn’t sleep well last night, I might get sick, it’s too cold, too windy, too rainy. Excuses made up to deceive myself and avoid confrontation… I will continue, although I am still scared. The Hydra is not going to fight itself.”

How to Fight a Hydra

The adventurer crept inside, stopped for a moment, then climbed up the slope and ran back to his camp. 

“I took a small step closer to the goal. I need every win I can claim right now,” he wrote about it later.

How to Fight a Hydra

The next day he ventured further. By the light of the torch, our adventurer saw seven-branched tunnels just outside the cave entrance: one huge central opening and three narrow passages on each side. There were stalactites and stalagmites everywhere, many of them damaged and their fragments littering the damp stone floor. Water dripped from the ceiling. The air was cold and thick with humidity. Fearing to be eaten at any moment, the hero drew a map on a piece of paper torn from his book.

At night, the hero woke up due to the fact that something huge was moving in the darkness outside the light of his fire. The horse tied to the tree was agitated and paced back and forth. The hero grabbed his weapon and leaned back against the mountain. Minutes passed. The only things he could hear over the pounding of his heart were the anxious steps of his horse Iolaus, the crackle of the fire, and the sound of the wind through the trees. In the end, Iolaus calmed down, and the hero put away his sword and torch. He tried to sleep, but couldn’t.

When dawn broke, the hero went to the cave. New scratches and damage to stalagmites appeared on its walls, which were not there the day before. Since he would be vulnerable in the huge central tunnel, he first explored the far right passage, trying not to make a sound. It was relatively narrow but tall enough to stand with arms outstretched. The tunnel had many twists and turns, from several openings in the ceiling to large chambers above, with water dripping down the moldy walls. The passage turned sharply to the left. The hero looked around the corner and gasped when he saw the monster two steps away from him.

The hydra had been sleeping since dinner the night before. He crawled closer to get a better look at her. The monster had six snakeheads, four powerful legs, and a thick, scaly tail. 

“The Hydra was not as gigantic as I imagined. Darkness and fear played a cruel joke on my mind. In the light of the torches, I could see that she was big and powerful, but not invincible.” 

How to Fight a Hydra

Fresh bones of large animals lay on the ground. Thinking that he could take possession of the treasure without a fight, the hero stopped paying attention to his surroundings and stumbled. He fell to the floor of the cave and screamed in pain. Six pairs of eyes opened, flashing orange in the torchlight. The snakeheads rose to look in his direction. The hydra jumped up instantly, its jaws snapping and heads competing with each other for the kill. The adventurer ran back into the narrow passage, ignoring the pain in his ankle. He miraculously made it to the hole unswallowed. Since the tunnel could only hold one hydra’s head, when it pounced, the hero made a deep cut with his sword along its muzzle. Without hesitation, he pointed the torch in her direction. The fire did not touch her, but she bounced back. He got out of the cave before the beast could catch him. 

“Sometimes it’s good to be small: you can move faster than a hippopotamus.” 

How to Fight a Hydra

From this meeting, the hero concluded that his enemy was afraid of fire. Therefore, the hydra did not hunt him at night, when the fire guarded him. 

The next time he entered the cave, he learned another secret. In the legends, the hydra’s wounds heal quickly. In fact, hydras only regenerate when their heads are completely cut off. 

“Since yesterday, the cut still hasn’t closed. This opens up new possibilities. For a while I will fight, then I will go to rest. The next day I will return full of strength, and the hydra will be weaker than the day before. I’m still afraid, but less than before. I saw the enemy, studied the area, and I have a plan of action. It’s a difficult task, but I see a path to victory and it gives me hope.” 

How to Fight a Hydra

The hero shot at the hydra’s heart with a hunting bow, hoping to kill her with one blow, but he was not lucky: the arrow bounced off the scaly body and split against the cave wall. 

“I can’t kill the beast from a distance. However, I’m glad I tried it. This information, which cannot be obtained in any other way, is very valuable.” 

How to Fight a Hydra

The hero did not hope to fight with all the heads of the hydra at once. He decided to cut them off one by one. He managed to attract the attention of the hydra from afar and lure him into a side tunnel. He cut one neck and quickly burned the “stump” with a torch. The remaining heads of the hydra roared in pain, and the beast retreated into the depths of the cave. The next day, he tried the same approach, but the hydra did not follow him, as it also learned from its own mistakes. 

“Obviously the hydra is tired, but it is also becoming more ferocious. She hasn’t eaten in many days. I am also tired. I need to rest a little, but not too long. Every day that I procrastinate, the hydra regains strength.” 

How to Fight a Hydra

Already at close range, the hero cut off and burned the second head, and the hydra turned to run. Her tail threw him against the wall, causing him to hit his head on a rock.

“My body is bruised and my head still hurts from the impact. I must be more careful. I thought of another approach worth testing: if eating makes the hydra sleepy, maybe I can give it something to hit when it sleeps.” 

How to Fight a Hydra

Before dark, the hero caught a wild boar and carried the carcass to the mouth of the cave. It worked. Well-fed, in the morning the hydra slept soundly, and the hero took advantage of the opportunity, leaving her three heads. 

However, having arranged another ambush, he did not use the torch quickly enough, and the hydra grew two heads instead of one severed one. Now, to complete the task, he had to cut off four heads (seven in total).

“I have to be patient. I can’t predict the future or change what happened, but I can learn from mistakes and try to do better in the future.”

How to Fight a Hydra

During the next attack, the hero almost died. As he descended the corridor, the hydra darted out from the shadow of the side chamber, catching him by surprise. Teeth pierced through his armor and jaws closed around his torso. 

He instinctively cut off the head holding the torso and seared the stump with a torch, forcing the hydra to retreat. He crawled out of the dead jaws and cave almost unconscious.

“I’m making an effort to hold this pen. My wounds are green. The body is on fire, covered in sweat and blood. I need medicine and clean bandages. There are none in my bag. I have to do something or I won’t make it through the night.”

How to Fight a Hydra

The hero boiled the strips of his cloak in a saucepan and then wrapped them around his wounds. And later he used as a bandage the dark green moss that grows next to the camp. Gradually the fever subsided and the wounds closed. 

Restoring health, the hero realized that the champions of antiquity were not so stupid as to face monsters without planning and training. Feats and valor in the stories are embellished, and the routine reality of the struggle is hushed up to make the story more exciting. 

“The heroes of legend didn’t kill the abomination for an hour, returning home in time for dinner. It was just as difficult for them as it was for me.”

How to Fight a Hydra

Due to illness, the hero again entered the cave only a few weeks later. Continuing to implement his strategy, he cut off two more heads. Left alone. 

“My sword plunged deep into the ground, the torch glowed, and I stood firmly on my feet. The last head fell at my feet, followed by the carcass, never to rise again. The mighty hydra fell in response to my persistent efforts. Finally, I won.”

How to Fight a Hydra

Part 4. Result

After a little rest, the hero went into the depths of the cave. Behind the boulder lay a large pile of shiny stones. 

“I went. I caught my breath. These were not gems, as I first thought, but useless crystals. I knelt down, tears streaming down my face.”

How to Fight a Hydra

The hero sat for a long time in the cave next to the corpse of the hydra. Difficulties, struggles, wounds – all turned out to be in vain. 

“My parents and friends were right: I am a fool chasing stupid dreams. The legends are exaggerated – they are just a collection of stories told to children to keep them entertained on rainy days. Why did I decide that fairy tales are true?

How to Fight a Hydra

The hero got up and forced himself to go. When he got to the entrance to the cave, he remembered the lesson: explore your surroundings and circumstances and see if there is anything you can use to your advantage. There was only one resource – a dead hydra. The adventurer returned to the cave and carefully examined the carcass. Seven snakeheads, a huge scaly hide strong enough to protect against arrows, and rows of sharp, long teeth. It dawned on the adventurer: the hydra was not guarding the treasure – it was the treasure itself!

He skinned the hydra with a knife, trying not to tear the skin, covered three heads with pine resin to preserve them, wrapped them in leather, and tied the hydra tendons to the back of his horse. Then he pulled out a long tooth from one head with the blade of his sword and tested it for sharpness and strength: the fang carved deep gouges in the stone floor without being damaged. He removed each tusk from the remaining skulls and placed them in the saddlebags.

On the way home, he walked beside Iolaus, swaying under the weight of the hydra’s remains. He continued his daily routine with minor changes: instead of making torches, he worked on a set of hydra armor, using his old parts as a template, and in the evenings he formed a dagger from a tooth with a knife – sharpening the edges and carving a handle at the base. 

When the Hydra Slayer returned home, he was greeted as a hero. Parents were proud, the mentor was surprised, and friends boasted of his achievements to all who listened. At first, the hero enjoyed the attention and company, but after a few weeks, it began to weigh him down. He didn’t need it anymore. The first adventure brought him wealth and fame. The skin of the hydra was sold for a good price to the village gunsmith (one day on the street he saw the son of a wealthy merchant in brand new hydra armor, on which they looked stupid), the tendons served as excellent bowstrings, and the heads of the hydra took pride of place on the wall of the village tavern. The minstrels sang songs about the exploits of the hero: in the stories, he was fearless and self-confident – the battle ended in a day, and success was predicted from the very beginning.

The hero became restless. A few months after returning to the village, on an autumn morning, he set off on a new journey. It’s time to meet the hydra again.

Part 5. Lessons

Since the first adventure, the hero has encountered many hydras. The diary accompanied him on every raid, reminding him of how far he had come. 

After each battle, he hoped that the next one would be easier, but it wasn’t. This job has never been easy. In order to remember his hard-earned wisdom and avoid repeating unnecessary mistakes, he wrote down the lessons learned during his adventures. Here are the main ones:

“I have seen more souls destroyed by lack of adventure than the hydra will ever kill. For every adventurer defeated by a hydra in combat, there are thousands who are defeated by their own wits and refuse to face the hydra at all.” 

How to Fight a Hydra

“The world is full of caves. You can’t know for sure which ones contain treasure, but there are clues. The shallow caves that can be seen from the outside contain nothing of interest. Everything they had was long gone. Look for a deep, dark, sinister cave – something that scares you.”

How to Fight a Hydra

“There is no point in fighting with a dull, rusty sword. Keep your sword sharp, your torches ready, and your armor in good condition. Take care of your tools, learn how to use them, and they will do you good.”

How to Fight a Hydra

“When you go to the hydra, you will feel fear. No matter how many monsters you kill, you will experience anxiety when you get close to the cave. Fear doesn’t mean you’re weak, it means you’re sane. Unpleasant emotions do not dictate your actions.”

How to Fight a Hydra

“Many newbies claim to be adventurous but never get around to looking the beast in the face. Instead, they tell themselves: “I don’t like this”, “maybe tomorrow”, “not now”. Of course, you don’t feel like fighting a monster. You can imagine horrors that don’t really exist. The root of all fears is the future, which cannot be predicted or controlled. The fear of the unknown will always be with you, no matter what you do. In a way, this is comforting: if there is nothing you can do to change it, there is no reason for it to stop you. Doubt is not your friend. Only actions allow you to see the situation for what it really is.

How to Fight a Hydra

“Some of your attacks will hit, others will be boring. You cannot predict in advance what will happen. But each time you must attack with the same intent to hit the opponent. This is the essence of the battle. Failures, mistakes and bad days are normal. There will be long periods when you won’t be able to figure out what to do or if you’re doing the right thing. It doesn’t mean you’re broken, it means you’re human. Adventure requires confidence in your own skills, judgment and resilience. 

How to Fight a Hydra

“Whenever you doubt your ability to handle chaos and struggle, the memory of past experiences can provide an arsenal of counterexamples powerful enough to overcome your fears. Think back to the times when you fought and adapted and won before you do it again.”

How to Fight a Hydra

“Risk is an inevitable part of adventure. One mistake made out of ignorance or negligence can kill you. Only a fool relies solely on his stability. It is much better to learn to anticipate attacks and dodge when they appear. A wise adventurer spends as much time learning how to dodge a blow as he invests in improving sword and torch skills. Wisdom is to anticipate and prevent avoidable mistakes.” 

How to Fight a Hydra

“No matter how careful you are, you will make mistakes. After each battle, there will be a hundred things that, looking back, you could have done better. So the best approach is to make valuable mistakes: experiments that give you useful information and help you improve.” 

How to Fight a Hydra

“Over the course of your adventuring career, you will earn more than a few battle scars. Beginners who quit suffer the consequences of foolish risks or give up when they earn a scratch. Knowing what will be difficult makes it easier to move on.”

“After you get your first win, a funny thing happens: all of a sudden you have something to lose. The townspeople have heard of your previous exploits. You have more treasures in your treasury. Everyone expects great things from you in the coming months and years. In the next adventure, all this will be in the back of your mind, along with a new fear: what if this time I fail? What will people think of me if I come back with nothing? It is better to put aside all thoughts of fame and reputation before acting. The fight itself is difficult. Worse than fighting a hydra is fighting multiple hydras at the same time.”

How to Fight a Hydra

“When you prove that you can kill a hydra, others will have thoughts about who you are, what you are capable of and how you should do your job. You will hear an endless stream of comments and advice from people who have never taken up a sword. Take advice only from those who have encountered the beast.”

“Your confidence grows with every successful venture. But if you start neglecting the simple things that made you successful in the first place, then you make mistakes that can end you. Confidence is a powerful ally when tempered with wisdom and restraint. You are not invincible, so don’t pretend. On the other hand, you are no longer a beginner. You can trust your own judgment and ability even if others disagree. There is a middle path between humility and pride – find it.”

“A hero is born every time someone buckles up their armor, picks up their sword and torch, and decides to face their fears by relying on preparation and determination to go through with it. Everyone wants a guaranteed reward before putting themselves at risk. But no matter how much you plan or prepare, a significant portion of the results will be random. Generations have opposed this reality to no avail. On the other hand, you can’t succeed if you never try. Fortune tends to smile on those who act, even when the result is not guaranteed. At some point, you have to move forward, do what you can and hope for the best.”

“No one travels forever. The day will come when you put on your armor for the last time and unsheath your sword. When that day comes, face it with courage and a clear mind. Completing a chapter of your life on your own terms is a feat worthy of respect and admiration.”

How to Fight a Hydra

Part 6. Solution

One early foggy morning, a group of eight travelers appeared at the door of the hero. The author of the diary invited them into the house and made tea. After an exchange of pleasantries, they revealed that they were going to slay a dragon in a faraway land, and invited the adventurer to join them. “We need a hero of your level,” they said. “There are rumors that the dragon sleeps on a mountain of gold and gems. There will be enough treasures to provide us all with a hundred lifetimes of wealth.” 

The hero asked like-minded people a lot of questions and concluded that they were well-trained warriors with excellent weapons and a map. Their leader led many such expeditions. Each member of the group was experienced and boasted of previous feats: slaying vampires, hunting werewolves, exorcising demons, and protecting villages from hordes of the undead. Together they are more than a match for any dragon. 

The hero thanked them and said that he would consider the offer. In response, the party leader declared that they would not wait longer than one day: there was a long way to go, which would continue the next morning with or without the help of a hydra fighter.

Even though the expected reward if successful is greater than the hero could ever hope to achieve, the offer made him hesitate. “My family gives me great joy. If I become part of this team, I will be gone for many months, and maybe even years. The risk is great: regardless of skill, only a fool would choose a dragon on a whim. My adventures led me to material well-being and respect for the townspeople. I have many close friends. I live comfortably, as it suits me. Now I’m being asked to trade these hard-earned treasures for a chance to become a legendary dragon slayer – famous far beyond my small village and immensely wealthy. If the enterprise is successful, generations will know my name and hear about my courageous deeds. Is this opportunity worth it?

The hero discussed the proposal with his family. “We don’t need a mountain of gold and precious stones,” they said. “We’d rather you stay here and take no chances.” At night, the hero opened a wooden chest with a sword and armor and looked at them for a long time.

“I had to persevere in the first battle in order to prove to myself what I was capable of,” the hero reflected. “Now there is no doubt about it. I have learned to choose my battles with care and not be afraid to shy away from situations where the circumstances are not in my best interest. I didn’t choose this new adventure – it was offered to me. I never thought about dragon hunting until this morning. Is this a unique opportunity or an unnecessary distraction? Are the circumstances of this enterprise really in my favor? If I accept this invitation, will I regret giving up everything I value in order to fulfill someone’s dream? If I refuse, and the team succeeds, will I regret my choice? How will I react when I find out that missed the chance to achieve great fame? Is my caution a sign of wisdom, or am I just scared? Some hydras exist only in the mind. I must defeat them before sunrise.”

How to Fight a Hydra

Without falling asleep, the hero, together with Iolaus, approached the hotel an hour before sunrise. He was wearing armor and had a sword and dagger on his hip. His saddlebags were full. The adventurers prepared to leave, loading their horses with supplies. He told them firmly: “Thank you, friends, for the invitation to join your enterprise. This is an unexpected honor. The hero opened his bags. “But I must decline your offer: my place is here with my loved ones. I brought each of you a gift as a token of gratitude for your trust in me. He handed each member of the group a hydra-tooth dagger in a leather sheath. Engravings were visible on each bone white handle in the light. The hero smiled. “I wish you every success. Goodbye and good luck!” The group was silent as he drew his sword, saluted them, and turned Iolaus toward the house.

He returned as the sun rose, cleaned Iolaus, and then left him to enjoy the apple. The hero’s family was still sleeping, the house was quiet and calm. He took off his armor and placed it carefully, along with his sword, in the chest, then closed the lid with a light heart. It’s time to prepare breakfast.

Call to arms

Arise, noble adventurer. Take your sword and torch. Explore wild, unknown corners of the world. Find hidden treasures and challenge the monsters that guard them. The world needs you. 

How to Fight a Hydra

Josh Kaufman

The moment you make eye contact with the beast, you steel your mind and stand your ground, you earn your place among the legendary heroes revered above all for overcoming their fears. 

Top 10 Thoughts

1. Uncertainty, complexity, volatility and ambiguity are inevitable elements of adventure : you cannot guarantee victory in advance. You must choose a course of action, prepare as best you can, move forward and hope for the best. 

2. Some people will support your desire for adventure, others will not. Don’t let their doubts and fears discourage you if you decide the experience, benefits, and potential rewards are worth the risks. 

3. Every adventurer doubts his own abilities. This is normal and not a sign of weakness or cowardice. 

4. Exploration is an inevitable part of the adventure because sometimes you won’t know how or what to do.

5. The fight will always last longer and feel harder than you expect. Understanding that it will be difficult makes it easier to move towards the goal. 

6. Sharpening your abilities and learning new skills is a great use of your time and energy.

7. Take care of your health : perseverance, or the likelihood of seeing things through to a victorious end, depends on your physical, mental, and emotional stamina.

8. Experiment with different approaches until you find one that works.

9. Often the reward at the end of the journey is not what you expected. Look for treasures in unexpected places and unusual shapes.

10. Compare each new opportunity with your current goal, and then decide what to do based on what you value the most. Trust your experience, insight and intuition, beware of inattention, impatience, and arrogance.

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