The Daily Stoic for September 4th, “How Can You Know Whether You’ve Never Been Tested?”.
“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, 4.3
It’s funny reading these words from Seneca. Given that he was arguably one of the richest guys of his time, born in a wealthy family, I don’t think he would have gone through a lot of “misfortune” himself. But anyway, enough raging about Seneca 😉
How Can You Know Whether You’ve Never Been Tested?
Today’s daily stoic affirms that difficult periods are sometimes remembered as wonderful times when we learned valuable lessons or grew as individuals. It goes as far as asking:
“So today if things look like they might take a bad turn or your luck might change, why worry? This might be one of those formative experiences you will be grateful for later.”
Well, it’s always really easy to say that on perspective, meaning, when the awful situation has passed. When everything is shiny and under control again. But I guess none of us can have the courage to look forward during these type of episodes and affirm: “you know, this is just a fantastic opportunity for me to grow, and I will remember it with pride later!”
That was certainly not me some days ago, lying in my hospital bed while fighting with an infection, surrounded by people that didn’t speak English most of the time… I didn’t feel like I was privileged to be learning a lesson and improving. On the contrary, I felt quite miserable.
I guess that’s one of those situations that you can only see in perspective sometime later.
Today’s Daily Stoic, “How Can You Know Whether You’ve Never Been Tested?”, discusses how wrong times are opportunities to improve and get the best of ourselves. However, I’m not quite sure we’re all able to appreciate that in those situations.