“Success comes to the lowly and to the poorly talented, but the special characteristic of a great person is to triumph over the disasters and panics of human life.”SENECA, ON PROVIDENCE, 4.1
We all have good luck from time to time. Even people who barely deserve it get lucky. Sometimes those undeserving people just seem to have general good luck all the time, just across the board, in everything. It’s not fair, and it can be frustrating, but you probably learned that life lesson a long time ago.
There’s nothing particularly impressive about those folks repeatedly falling into good fortune. They didn’t do anything amazing to deserve it. Likewise, if you fall into good fortune, don’t be fooled by it.
But by contrast, how much more impressive is the person who “triumphs over the disasters and panics of human life”? Someone who didn’t get any breaks at all, but still overcame and flourished? Someone who was resilient in the face of incredible adversity — adversity which ultimately illuminated their true character?
You already know the answer: that kind of perseverance is better than being lucky. People who have “mastered themselves and their emotions along the way” — as author Holiday put it in today’s chapter of The Daily Stoic — are just that much more impressive.
Be that kind of awesome. The persevering kind, not the lucky kind.