by DW Green — October 13, 2021The novelist Cormac McCarty was living in a motel room when he heard a knock at the door. It was a messenger—he’d been awarded the Macarthur “genius” grant and $250,000. Unexpected events can be good as well as bad.Who could dream of such an unexpected twist? Who but Clotho, one of the three Greek goddesses fate, who “spins” the thread of human life? To the ancients she was the one who decided the course of the events of our lives—some good, some bad. As the playwright Aeschylus wrote, “When the gods send evil, one cannot escape it.” The dame was true for great destiny and good fortune.Their resigned attitude might seem strange to us today, but they understood who was really in control (not them, not us!). No amount of prosperity, no amount of difficultly, is certain or forever. A triumph becomes a trial, a trial becomes a triumph. Life can change in an instant. Remember, today, how often it does.read more
by DW Green — October 6, 2021When people say change is good, they’re usually trying to reassure someone (or themselves). Because instinctively we view change as bad—or at least we’re suspicious of it.Consider doing away with those labels altogether. Change isn’t good. The status quo isn’t bad. They just are.Remember, events are objective. It’s only our opinion that says something is good or bad (and thus worth fighting against or fighting for). A better attitude? To decide to make the most of everything. But to do that you must first cease fighting.read more
by DW Green — September 29, 2021
Something happened that we wish had not. Which of these is easiest to change: our opinion or the event that is past?
The answer is obvious. Accept what happened and change your wish that it had not happened. Stoicism calls this the “art of acquiescence”—to accept rather than fight every little thing.
And most practiced Stoics take it a step further. Instead of simply accepting what happens, they urge us to actually enjoy what has happened—whatever it is. Nietzsche, many centuries later, coined the perfect expression to capture this idea: amor fati (a love of fate). It’s not just accepting, it’s loving everything that happens.
To wish for what has happened to happen is a clever way to avoid disappointment because nothing is contrary to your desires. But to actually feel gratitude for what happens? To love it? That’s a recipe for happiness and joy.read more
by DW Green — September 22, 2021
It’s easy to blame our circumstances. One person curses that they weren’t born taller, another that they’re not smarter, with a different complexion, or born on a different country. It’d be hard to find a single person on this planet—from supermodels on down—who doesn’t think they’re deficient in at least some way. But whatever your perceived deficits are, remember that there are positive qualities that you can develop that don’t depend on genetic accidents.
You have the choice to be truthful. You have the choice to be dignified. You can choose to endure. You can choose to be happy. You can choose to be grateful. You can choose to be thrifty. You can choose to be kind to others. You can choose to be free. You can persist under difficult odds. You can avoid trafficking in gossip. You can choose to be gracious.
And honestly, aren’t the traits that are the result of effort and skill more impressive anyway?read more