Daily Touch of Inspirations

September 10th: Preparing on the sunny day

Ryan Holiday, The 366 Meditations on Wisdom, Perseverance, and the Art of Living

Here's a lesson to test your mind's mettle: take part of a week in which you have only the most meager and cheap food, dress scantly in shabby clothes, and ask yourself if this is really the worst that you feared. It is when times are good that you should gird yourself for tougher times ahead, for when Fortune is kind the soul can build defenses against her ravages. So it is that soldiers practice maneuvers in peacetime, erecting bunkers with no enemies in sight and exhausting themselves under no attack so that when it comes they won't grow tired. — Seneca, Moral Letters, 18.5-6

What if you spent one day a month experiencing the effects of poverty, hunger, complete isolation, or any other thing you might fear? After the initial culture shock, it would start to feel normal and no longer quite so scary.

There are plenty of misfortunes one can practice, plenty of problems one can solve in advance. Pretend your hot water has been turned off. Pretend your wallet has been stolen. Pretend your cushy mattress was far away and that you have to sleep on the floor, or that you car was repossessed and you have to walk everywhere. Pretend you lost your job and need to find a new one. Again, don't just think about these things, but live them. And do it now, while things are good. As Seneca reminds us: "It is precisely times of immunity from care that the soul should toughen itself beforehand for occasions of greater stress.. If you would not have a man flinch when the crisis comes, train him before it comes."

The Daily Stoic: 366 Meditations on Wisdom Perseverance and Art of Living

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