“Why then are we offended? Why do we complain? This is what we’re here for.”SENECA, ON PROVIDENCE, 5.7b-8
Newsflash (which you already knew): life is hard sometimes. What’s the point in complaining, which only drains your energy? You should expect that things are going to get tough, and shit is going to get real, and that that’s what you were put here for. Life is a challenge, and we should embrace that. You were built for it.
The passage in The Daily Stoic today reminds me of one of my favorite Coldplay songs, The Scientist. The lyrics of this song say, “Nobody said it was easy, no one ever said it would be this hard.” It’s a tacit admission that love (and life) are freaking difficult at times, and it’s hard to accept. But accept it we must! The very next line of the song says, “I’m going back to the start,” indicating that sometimes we have to go back to square one and take stock of where we are.
Today’s page in the book also makes the very good point that “you come from a long, unbroken line of ancestors who survived unimaginable adversity, difficulty, and struggle… you’re an heir to an impressive tradition.”
That part really stuck with me — that my great-great-grandparents and others in my family which are long lost to history, they overcame so much for me to have a chance to sit here and ponder life’s mysteries. Disease, starvation, attacks by wild animals, world wars, discrimination, poverty. My challenges seem mild by comparison. And if they could overcome everything that they faced, then I certainly can too.
It’s because we were built for adversity. The human race has a long tradition of rising to the challenge and overcoming it. This is what we’re good at, and we have all the tools at our disposal that we need, especially at this particular time in history. The struggle is great, but the payoff is enormous. We simply have to persevere.