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The streak continued. In 1883,
Two days later, his wife would be dead of Bright’s disease (now known as kidney failure). His mother had died only hours earlier in the same house, of typhoid fever. Roosevelt marked the day in his diary with a large “X.” Next to it, he wrote, “The light has gone out of my life.”
As they say, life comes at you fast.
Have the last few weeks not been an example of that?
In December, the Dow was at 28,701.66. Things were good enough that people were complaining about the “war on Christmas” and debating the skin color of Santa Claus. In January, the Dow was at 29,348.10 and people were outraged about the recent Oscar nominations. In February, when the Dow reached a staggering 29,568.57, Delta Airlines stock fell nearly 25% in less than a week, as people argued intensely over a message from Delta’s CEO about passengers reclining their seats. Even in early March, there were news stories about Wendy’s entering the “breakfast wars” and a free stock-trading app outage that caused people to miss a big market rally.
And that was just in the news. Think about what you busied yourself with at home during that same period. Maybe you and your wife were looking at plans to remodel your kitchen. Maybe you were finally going to pull the trigger on that Tesla Model S for yourself—the $150,000 one, with the ludicrous speed package. Maybe you were fuming that Amazon took an extra day to deliver a package. Maybe you were frustrated that your kid’s room was a mess.
And now? How quaint and stupid does that all seem?
Depending on the day you look, years of market gains have now been taken back. 47 million people are projected to be added to the unemployment rolls in the US. The death count from what was dismissed as a mere respiratory flu and the left’s latest hoax is now inching towards 170,000 and there are millions more confirmed cases worldwide. There have been runs on supplies. Hospitals are maxing out ventilators. The global economy has essentially ground to a halt.
Life comes at us fast, don’t it?
It can change in an instant. Everything you built, everyone you hold dear, can be taken from you. For absolutely no reason. Just as easily, you can be taken from them. This is why the Stoics say we need to be prepared, constantly, for the twists and turns of Fortune. It’s
And yet even
One needs only to read
What do we do?
Well, first, knowing that life comes at us fast, we should be always prepared.
In his own life,
By doing what he called a premeditatio malorum,
Second, we should always be careful not to tempt fate.
In 2016 General Michael Flynn stood on the stage at the Republican National Convention and led some 20,000 people (and a good many more at home) in
Then, just 24 days into his new job, Flynn was fired for lying to the Vice President about conversations he’d had with Sergey Kislyak, the Russian ambassador to the United States. He would be brought up on charges and convicted of lying to the FBI.
Life comes at us fast… but that doesn’t mean we should be stupid. We also shouldn’t be arrogant.
Third, we have to hang on. Remember, that in the depths of both of
Life is like this. It gives us bad breaks—heartbreakingly bad breaks—and it also gives us incredible
When we’re going through a bad break, we should never forget Fortune’s power to redeem us. When we’re walking through the roses, we should never forget how easily the thorns can tear us upon, how quickly we can be humbled. Sometimes life goes your way, sometimes it doesn’t.
This is what Theodore Roosevelt learned, too.
Despite what he wrote in his diary that day in 1884, the light did not completely go out of Roosevelt’s life. Sure, it flickered. It looked like the flame might have been cruelly extinguished. But with time and incredible energy and force of will, he came back from those tragedies. He became a great father, a great husband, and a great leader. He came back and the world was better for it. He was better for it.
Life comes at us fast. Today. Tomorrow. When we least expect it. Be ready. Be strong. Don’t let your light be snuffed out.
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The last few months have been a good example of that.
Just think of what you occupied your time with, while at home, before. Maybe you and your wife were planning to remodel the house. Or perhaps you were furious that Amazon took an extra day to deliver a package. But now, putting these things into perspective, they seem almost silly.
Everything you built or cherish can be taken away from you. That's why the Stoics say we need to be prepared for the twists and turns of life, even the cruel and heartbreaking ones.
Seneca said that nothing happens to the wise man contrary to his expectation, because the wise man has considered every possibility.
In his own life, Seneca practiced “the premeditation of evils”.
If, for instance, he planned a journey, he would go over the things that could go wrong - a storm, or an attack by pirates. This way, he was always prepared for disruption because he worked it into his plans.
SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:
Stoicism asserts that we don’t control and cannot rely on external events, only ourselves and our responses.
At the very root of Stoicism there is a very simple, though not easy, way of living: Take obstacles in your life and turn them into your advantage, control what you can and accept what you can’t.
Stoicism is a school of Hellenistic philosophy that was founded by Zeno of Citium, in Athens, in the early 3rd century BC.
It is an ancient tool for remaining calm in adversity, a philosophical ...