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Stoic Thoughts On Misfortune
'I judge you unfortunate because you have never lived through misfortune. You have passed through life without an opponent- no one can ever know what you are capable of, not even you.'
- Seneca, On Providence
' Most people who have gone through difficult periods in their life come to later wear those experiences as badges of honor.
" Those were the days," they might say, even though now they live in much better circumstances.
" To be young and hungry again, 2 another might say wistfully.
" It was the best thing that ever happened to me," or " I wouldn't change a thing about it."
As tough as those periods were, they were ultimately formative experiences.
They made those people who they are.
There's another benefit of so-called misfortune. Having experienced and survived it, we walk away with better understanding of our own capacity and inner strength.
Passing a trial by fire is empowering because you know that in the future you can survive similar adversity.
" What does not kill me makes me stronger," Nietzche said.
So today if things look like they might take a bad turn or your luck might change, why worry? This might be the one of those formative experiences you will be grateful for later.
- An excerpt from the book The Daily Stoic: 366 Meditations on Wisdom, Perseverance, and the Art of Living by Ryan Holiday and Stephen Hanselman
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