Events Aren’t Good or Bad

“For there are two rules to keep at the ready — that there is nothing good or bad outside my own reasoned choice, and that we shouldn’t try to lead events but to follow them.”


When things happen to us, it’s common to ascribe a value judgment to them. We say that something bad happened to us, or that we had a stroke of good luck. That’s not entirely accurate though.

The truth in today’s quote above is that events aren’t good or bad, they just are. We have a choice in how we perceive them. The events themselves are neutral, and the value is only assigned based on our reaction to them.

Our reasoned choice gives us the ability to be truly powerful — to decide how we’re going to respond to the day’s events. This is the only thing we can control: our reaction.

Those events that are commonly thought of as ‘bad’? Once we realize that harm is subjective, i.e. it’s only harmful because we say it is, then the sting is lessened. The bite is removed from the event, and we see it for what it truly is — just something that happened today.

The Daily Stoic today has a fascinating take on all of this, and how this particular bit of wisdom is one that appears across many different belief systems and at different times in human history. It’s interesting to think that sometimes we can arrive at the same understanding of truth despite coming at it from different angles.

The second part of today’s quote simply reminds us that we should align our will with fate, and follow the course that destiny has laid out for us instead of trying to control it.

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