We ought to give thanks for all fortune: if it is “good,” because it is good, if “bad” because it works in us patience, humility, & hope. – C. S. Lewis
What does that mean?
This quote is a great example of finding the silver lining in any situation. Far too many people live in a feast-or-famine lifestyle, and this quote offers them a way out.
Be glad if things go your way, but if not, then what? Instead of getting what you want, you get a learning experience. You get a chance to work on patience, humility and hope.
Not everything goes your way, so what do you do then? And do you think you could manage to learn a few things even from fortune which you label ‘good’? It’s an interesting idea and a logical extension to the quote.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t find the letter which this is from to get a better grasp of the context, but it is still an interesting quote.
Why is celebrating all fortune important?
Fortune, for good or bad, is just that. A chance. An outcome. You took an action, and this is the result. Now what? How much effort will you put into deciding if you will be happy or unhappy? How do you feel after taking some time to determine what you feel because of an event, which was either largely or completely outside your control, has occurred?
I prefer to treat all fortune in an equal manner. It is a result and that is something from which we can learn. We can also decide to be happy independent of the result. Although it can be easier to accomplish if the result was favorable or desirable. But we can still be happy if the result wasn’t exactly as we had hoped. We can focus on what we can learn, how we can grow, or think about how much worse it could have been.
Seriously, we can be happy in any situation, if we choose to be so. There are studies from all over the world and from some of the most desolate and desperate areas thereof. Even in what we would consider pits of abject poverty and despair, people can be found who are happy. Some are so simply because they are alive. Each happy person finds their own reason. But they have chosen to celebrate in the face of their fortune.
Where can I apply this in my life?
Does Fortune ever happen to you? Good or bad? Then you have the opportunity to put this quote to use into your life. What has your fortune been like lately? Have you been doing good, or poorly, or has it been kind of even? The quote emphasizes using the less desirable outcomes to help you learn some character traits.
Take a moment and think about some of your less fortunate results lately. Pick one and consider what you could learn from the experience. Yes, you can consider what to do better next time, or even to resist doing it next time. But what else? How can you build a better you, a stronger person, a better person, one with more character? On what traits would you work to improve?
Take a little time and try it with a couple of the results you are less than trilled to have received. Are there patterns starting to develop? What character traits would serve you best going forward from these fortunes? What do you stand to gain by taking these lessons to heart? What will you do now to build up your character?
I would argue you could also learn from the more pleasant fortunes in your life. Take a moment and consider what you have experienced, and what you can learn from that. Consider several other pleasant results. Is there a pattern in the good fortune, and what you can learn from them? How does that compare to what you can learn from the bad fortune?
I got a big bump in viewers a few weeks ago, around the date of Martin Luther King Jr’s birthday. I have done posts on several quotes by him, and a fair number of people went looking for some of his quotes. What lesson can I learn from these fortunes? It helps to do work on the quotes of famous people, and the kinds of quotes that teachers assign to students.
On the other side of fortune, my son had an opportunity to accomplish something, but it didn’t quite go his way. Missed it by the smallest amount, but miss it he did. I’m still waiting to hear from him to find out what exactly he learned from his “bad” fortune. I’m sure it will eventually make for a great story, and some great character development for him in the mean time.
Everything we do, or fail to do, causes results. Whether we call it good fortune or bad fortune, we can still learn and grow from both. What are you planning to learn today from the results of your efforts?
From: Twitter, @CSLewisDaily
confirmed at : from 10 August 1948, in a letter to Don Giovanni Calabria
photo by Alan Levine