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When odds seem to go against you, remember this

June 08, 2020

"My formula for greatness in a human being is “amor fati”: that one wants nothing to be different, not forward, not backward, not in all eternity. Not merely bear what is necessary, still less conceal it—all idealism is mendacity in the face of what is necessary—but love it."
– Friedrich Nietzsche

Have you ever worked hard on something, maybe a new personal project, or an idea you wanted to follow through, or a company you’ve been trying to get off the ground for a few years, only to face rejection, getting denied that next step, or having everything canceled all of a sudden?

It can feel like a blow to the face. It can leave you breathless and disoriented.

This moment is one that can make you question everything. Why even bother trying? Who am I kidding? How did I even think I was good enough to do that?

It’s a moment to pause and remember: life is full of things that you don’t have control over, but you can always control how you respond to them.

The stoics had this concept of amor fati (love of fate). They embraced their fate and everything that happened to them. They reflected and viewed things as something they either could or not control.

The things outside your control should not have power over you. Instead, they’re kindling for you to achieve your greatness. As Marcus Aurelius said:

A blazing fire makes flame and brightness out of everything that is thrown into it.

So this does not mean that you should just sit with the idea of being okay with that setback that happened to you. Those things happening to you are your fate. And each of those moments, each of those challenges, is something to welcome and to embrace. They need to become fuel for your potential.

Even when it gets hard, even when it seems everything is blocked, and there is no exit, remember that the obstacle is the way. That thing that has your attention and that you feel trapped by it is waiting for you to take ownership and do your best with what you’re given.

And you can, that’s why you’re here.