“No one is crushed by Fortune, unless they are first deceived by her… those who aren’t pompous in good times, don’t have their bubbles burst with change. Against either circumstance, the stable person keeps their rational soul invincible, for it’s precisely in the good times they prove their strength against adversity.”SENECA, ON CONSOLATION TO HELVIA, 5.4b, 5b-6
Today’s quote in The Daily Stoic comes from Seneca, in a letter to his mother after he’d been exiled, explains author Ryan Holiday.
He was trying to calm her down after the terrible turn of events that had befallen her son (he was exiled from Rome), but in this particular quote Seneca is essentially admonishing himself for being a sucker. He got soft, when things got (really, really) good. He got too comfortable and even frivolous with his good luck, and that made his eventual fall from grace that much harder to bear.
So here’s Seneca’s cautionary wisdom to us:
Keep yourself calm and level-headed during good times, so that you aren’t destroyed when your luck changes.
Keep your rational soul strong and that will ensure your resilience.
Hone your reasoned choice to make yourself essentially invincible.
Use your stoic practice to build up your inner strength for whatever fortune may throw your way, whether that’s good or bad. Inner strength is proven during the good times — but it’s really put to the test when the winds change for the worse.
Your stoicism is the foundation to help you avoid being fooled by good fortune, and prepared for the opposite.