Posted on 2018 November 18


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All my misfortunes have been my honored teachers. — anon.

Sometimes bad things hit you in waves. First an election goes badly for your side. Then your favorite night spot gets shot up by a madman, and people you know are murdered for no reason. Then fires break out around the city and you must evacuate. Hundreds of homes burn, including some of your friends’. People get injured or killed. 

Or you become gravely ill, lose your job, your spouse leaves, and your cat dies, all in the same week.

It’s tempting, at that point, to throw up your hands and wail helplessly … or beat yourself up for the mistakes you made while trying to cope with the disaster.

Then the time comes to resume life. To get back on the horse. To learn the lessons and apply them to the future. We honor our misfortunes — and our lost friends — not by sitting in a corner, but by absorbing from tragedy the hidden gifts of serenity and wisdom.

To that end, here are some eloquent thoughts from those who have suffered and then returned to the fray:

Everybody has a plan until they get hit. — Mike Tyson

The problem is not to find the answer, it’s to face the answer. — Terence McKenna

Nothing that had happened to me thus far had been sufficient to destroy me; nothing had been destroyed except my illusions. I myself was intact. The world was intact. — Henry Miller

When the situation is hopeless, there’s nothing to worry about. — Edward Abbey

Everything will be okay in the end. If it’s not okay, it’s not the end. — John Lennon

The past is but the beginning of a beginning, and all that is or has been is but the twilight of the dawn. — H.G. Wells

Life will find a way. — Michael Crichton

You must never feel badly about making mistakes … as long as you take the trouble to learn from them. — Norton Juster

Pain plus reflection equals progress. – Ray Dalio

Unexpected occurrences indicate new opportunities, not existential threats. — Taylor Pearson

What stands in the way becomes the way. — Marcus Aurelius

Sweet are the uses of adversity. — Shakespeare

Yes, it is impossible. Therefore it will take a little longer. — Paolo Lugari

At every step he found his former dreams disappointed, and new, unexpected surprises of happiness. — Leo Tolstoy

A meaningful life can be extremely satisfying even in the midst of hardship . . . — Yuval Harari

I don’t mean you’re all going to be happy. You’ll be unhappy – but in new, exciting and important ways. – Edwin Land

Play the ball where the monkey drops it. — Ed Catmull

There is only one outcome you can control: And that’s doing your best job at any particular project, given who you are today, and completing it to the best of your abilities. — Neil Strauss

There’s always a move. — Ben Horowitz

Get over it. You’re alone in the world. Do something interesting. — Geoff Manaugh