Each of has been blessed by Fortune. We’re alive right now, instead of 50 or 500 years ago. We were born free, and not into slavery. We’re reading this email on a computer in our office or on our cellphones, because we’re not laying in a hospital in a permanent vegetative state.
Some of us are even luckier than all that. You might currently have the career you’ve dreamed of. Or you’re married to a wonderful spouse. Or you’re a world-famous expert or a billionaire. Great.
“No man has ever been so far advanced by Fortune that she did not threaten him as greatly as she had previously indulged him.”
The opposite of good luck is bad luck. What has been given randomly, can be taken away randomly. Indeed, it happens all the time. Look at Seneca: Born healthy. Born rich. Born talented. He achieved so much...and then his pupil turned out to be deranged and he lost all of it, including his life.
What goes up, must come down. If not today, then tomorrow or the day after.
The point of telling you that is not to prompt anxiety or worry. It’s just a reminder. Take nothing for granted. Don’t waste a moment feeling like you don’t have enough or comparing yourself to other people. Avoid the temptation to conflate your self-worth with your net-worth or your identity with your place in society. Because all of this is temporary. All of this is dependent on Fortune.
And Fortune is as fickle and as cruel as she is generous.
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