#4 - How To Confront Life | Epictetus
A short reflection on a quote from Epictetus about resilience.
Whoever chafes at the conditions dealt by fate is unskilled in the art of life; whoever bears with them nobly and makes wise use of the results is a man who deserves to be considered good.
- Quote by Epictetus
This quote always brings a grin to my face. It makes Epictetus sound like such a hard-ass. And maybe he was, but the lesson in here is invaluable nonetheless.
Whenever life throws a curveball at us and it catches us right in the face we could go off cursing, wishing for different circumstances. Which will change exactly nothing.
Now, maybe there is nothing to change. Maybe you’re just having a streak of really bad luck. Maybe you’re late on mortgage payments and your car just broke down.
But hold on, there is something you can change. One thing you can always control.
The way you brace for impact. The way you hold up. The way you get out of the mud for the 101st time. Smiling. Staring life right back in the face saying: “Not today. And not ever.”
Find strength in the hardships others have endured before you.
Viktor Frankl survived the nazi concentration camps and wrote a book about it — I suggest you go read it.
Read about US soldiers getting captured in Korea and Vietnam. What they endured, that’s a hardship.
Chances are, you are not in a concentration camp. Chances are you are not being shelled out of your mind in a dirty trench. Chances are you are a first-world human living a pretty normal life.
This is not to say your problems are not valid, but I like to make these comparisons to get back on track really quickly.
Acknowledge that you are hurting, that you are suffering. Identify the reason why very clearly, then think about what you can do right now to fix it. If there is nothing to be done about it, continue your way forward, there is no better option.
Look to stories like Frankl’s to draw upon those people's spirits, on their grit, to stay on the path.
You might be down, but not out.
Keep fighting and learn and grow from the experience. You will be wiser and better next time.
Here are the stoic values associated with this quote.
- Premeditatio Malorum: expect things to not go your way, expect hardship, prepare for it
- Amor Fati: accept things you cannot change
- The Inner Citadel: retreat into yourself if you need a moment of silence in the darkest of storms
No matter how hard life gets you, you determine how you react to it.
How you choose your attitude will determine how you feel about something.
Let it get to you and you will suffer more than necessary.
Now I’d love to hear from you.
What situation have you dealt with where you had to brave the beast?
Or maybe you have another great quote regarding dealing with hardships? Don’t hesitate to contact us through the quote submission form 📝
Want more? Check out last week’s reflection