We are faced with a powerlessness we had not known before. We are used to thinking that in our advanced world there is hardly anything we cannot control.
The Stoics had a wonderful way to get along with any situation: to persuade oneself to want the things one already has and to embrace what has happened, whatever it is. This seemed an important insight, but it left open the question of how, exactly, could we accomplish this. They had, as one will be delighted to discover, an answer to this question. It is a fairly simple technique that, if practiced, can make us glad, if only for a time, to be the person we are, living the life we happen to be living, almost regardless of what that life might be. They called it the ‘art of acquiescence’ – to accept rather than fight every little thing.
And the most experienced Stoics take it a step further. Instead of simply accepting what happens, they urge us to actually enjoy what has happened – whatever it is. Nietsche, many centuries later, coined the perfect expression to capture this idea: amor fati (a love of fate). It is not just accepting, it’s loving everything that happens. That’s a recipe for happiness and joy.
Turn tragedy into triumph, disaster into opportunity.