The good things of prosperity are to be wished; but the good things that belong to adversity are to be admired. – Seneca
What does that mean?
To me, this quote is about our focus and about what is truly important in our lives. The quote contrasts the definition of ‘good things’ in times of prosperity and in times of adversity.
In times of prosperity, we tend to define ‘good things’ as luxuries. The good things might include eating out, travel, vacations, and shopping at expensive boutiques in the fashionable districts of town.
In times of adversity, on the other hand, we tend to define ‘good things’ as necessities. The necessities might include groceries for making dinner, spending time with the family, day-trips to the park, and shopping at stores known for providing value at a reasonable price.
We can focus on whatever we want, but covering the basics, especially in tough times, is prudent. From there, we can go from what we need to what we want.
Why is focusing on the basics important?
It is easy to wish for the good things when life is treating us well. But it is always wise to admire those who manage to get the good things as defined by adversity. Life tends to come in cycles, and often those in prosperity will later find themselves in adversity.
The lessons taught to us by thrift and self-restraint will pay dividends for the rest of our lives, so it is better to learn them sooner, right? What we insist on having in the prosperous times might well be too rich for our pocketbooks in the adverse times.
Do you need a bag to hold your stuff, or do you need a properly designed, fashionably styled, designer bag for ten times the price? In prosperous times, as in adverse times, the decision is easy. What you decide depends on your sense of style, and the lessons you have learned.
Where can I apply this in my life?
This isn’t a lecture about being frugal. It isn’t an anti-consumer tirade. What this is about is the sanity, or frequent lack thereof, of buying things which were luxuries in the prosperous times, when you are living in an adverse time.
For many people through out the world, times are tough. They are tougher in some areas than others, but generally not many people are in prosperity at the moment. And even they might want to consider caution as a change in fortune could happen at any moment.
When that change occurs, and it is for the worse, you will wish you had been a bit more frugal, right? Keeping track of our money isn’t always a lot of fun, and spending can bring some joy to our lives. However, if we plan for the times of adversity, we can have some joy there as well.
The worst case is when we aren’t frugal, and then transition from prosperity to adversity. That’s where things get ugly. The idea is to start being frugal, being careful with our money before that time. Where do you spend money in prosperous times? What could you do without if times were adverse?
How much money have you saved for the proverbial “rainy day?” How long could you last if your job went away? It’s easy to re-label the good things we wish for as necessities. But when the adverse times come, they are merely wishes, and we turn our attention and admiration to the necessities.
So far, I have focused on money, as that is a big part of where things tend to go badly in the transition from prosperity to adversity. However, this quote has applications outside your financial life. Where else do situations change from prosperity to adversity?
How about our social lives? Have you ever been popular for a while, then slipped back into obscurity? The “new kid on the block” syndrome. You were, for a brief moment, something new and shiny. When that wore off, what happened? Yeah, it happened to me too.
What would you like to have had continue as your fortunes changed from prosperity to adversity? How would things have changed if you had stuck to basics when prosperity came along? How many people neglect old friends during these brief periods of prosperity, then fall even lower than they were when the adverse times return?
Life goes in cycles. Sometimes you’re up, other times you’re down. What can you learn from the times of adversity? How can you apply them to the times of prosperity? How would the times of prosperity change if you kept focused on the basics? That might be something to think about.
From: Twitter, @OprahsQuotes
confirmed at : http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/l/luciusanna154988.html
Photo by Peter Dutton