Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Quote of the Day: Three Cheers for Misfortune

 

“I judge you unfortunate because you have never lived through misfortune. You have passed through life without an opponent—no one can ever know what you are capable of, not even you.” – Seneca

It’s a cliche to point out that “Life is what happens when you’re making other plans” is a cliche. But it’s a well-worn phrase for a reason. Anyone who’s gone through life getting everything they ever wanted has no idea what they’re missing out on that may have been infinitely better. And frankly, the things I appreciated most came after a great struggle. The things that came easy felt like a gift, but not an achievement.

It’s easy to complain about setbacks. They can indeed be frustrating. But we tend to learn the most when we’re responding to and overcoming setbacks.

In the gym, failure is integral to progress. You learn the proper form for a given muscle exercise, then you do repetitions to failure – to the point where you can’t go any further with the right form, though you might be able to cheat through another rep or two (and risk injury). Here, you look forward to reaching the failure point with each set, and measuring your progress: five more pounds than last time, or two more repetitions.

Resistance is the entire point. We revel in it.

Don’t court disaster recklessly, but don’t be afraid of legitimate challenges.

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  1. RightAngles Member

    A big part of the problem with some of our young people is that they’ve been so largely protected from failure or even a little adversity by the proponents of “self-esteem.” Trophies for everyone. They forgot that when nobody loses, nobody wins either. And they forgot that the experience of losing a game or failing at something teaches us a lot. And now we have people old enough to vote who have no coping skills and freak out when an election doesn’t go their way.

    • #1
    • February 24, 2020, at 9:34 AM PST
    • 9 likes
  2. Gossamer Cat Coolidge

    I know that a lot of anger is being directed at the Baby Boomers by the millenial generation. Most of it is unfair. But the one thing I hold the Boomers accountable for is the destructive self esteem movement. It was the worst thing that we could have done to the next generation. 

    • #2
    • February 24, 2020, at 9:53 AM PST
    • 8 likes
  3. Percival Thatcher
    Percival Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Gossamer Cat (View Comment):

    I know that a lot of anger is being directed at the Baby Boomers by the millenial generation. Most of it is unfair. But the one thing I hold the Boomers accountable for is the destructive self esteem movement. It was the worst thing that we could have done to the next generation.

    A few years ago, a millennial relative attempted to engage me in conversation about the outstanding advantages of ObamaCare.

    Yeah, that was ill-advised.

    • #3
    • February 24, 2020, at 9:59 AM PST
    • 8 likes
  4. Jim Wright Coolidge
    Jim Wright

    This just came in from a local farm’s newsletter that seems to fit with the topic.

    On Saturdays, the day I’m responsible for the chores around the farm, the tasks pitch me into motion. They get me out of bed in the morning, not because of a sense of obligation exactly, but because they are the part of the day in which I experience the daily maintenance of my relationship to the physical: my body, this space, the land. Chores are the things we do in order to survive. But more than that, they’re the things we do in order to live. They shape our lives and our skills, opening up time to think.

    Chores teach us. More than that, they are teachers. They find the places where we struggle and push us to improve on them. In the places where we excel, they become part of how we understand the world around us.

    In much of our lives, “work” has a negative connotation. It’s strange, because work is a natural human tendency. Everything we do – all human activity – is work. And we’re surrounded by a world in which systems and structures are working with one another, too. The negativity towards work, I think, comes from a place where work is not meaningful or purposeful. But here, everything is both.

    Work and meaning should be interconnected. When we dig down deeply enough, they are. And on a Saturday morning, as I put on my gloves, I’m grateful for this space that feeds that old human compulsion to create, to destroy, to interact with the environment around me. That’s work; that’s real.

    (Farmer Luke, Peterson Family Farm, Riverton Utah – 24 Feb 2020)

    • #4
    • February 24, 2020, at 10:05 AM PST
    • 11 likes
  5. Arahant Member

    Reaction Wood.

    • #5
    • February 24, 2020, at 10:38 AM PST
    • 5 likes
  6. Jim Wright Coolidge
    Jim Wright

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Reaction Wood.

    Fascinating! I’d never heard of that before.

    • #6
    • February 24, 2020, at 10:57 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  7. PHCheese Member

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Reaction Wood.

    There is other things termed wood but I’ll leave that alone.

    • #7
    • February 24, 2020, at 11:11 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  8. RightAngles Member

    Jim Wright (View Comment):

    This just came in from a local farm’s newsletter that seems to fit with the topic.

    On Saturdays, the day I’m responsible for the chores around the farm, the tasks pitch me into motion. They get me out of bed in the morning, not because of a sense of obligation exactly, but because they are the part of the day in which I experience the daily maintenance of my relationship to the physical: my body, this space, the land. Chores are the things we do in order to survive. But more than that, they’re the things we do in order to live. They shape our lives and our skills, opening up time to think.

    Chores teach us. More than that, they are teachers. They find the places where we struggle and push us to improve on them. In the places where we excel, they become part of how we understand the world around us.

    In much of our lives, “work” has a negative connotation. It’s strange, because work is a natural human tendency. Everything we do – all human activity – is work. And we’re surrounded by a world in which systems and structures are working with one another, too. The negativity towards work, I think, comes from a place where work is not meaningful or purposeful. But here, everything is both.

    Work and meaning should be interconnected. When we dig down deeply enough, they are. And on a Saturday morning, as I put on my gloves, I’m grateful for this space that feeds that old human compulsion to create, to destroy, to interact with the environment around me. That’s work; that’s real.

    (Farmer Luke, Peterson Family Farm, Riverton Utah – 24 Feb 2020)

    This says a lot because every time I see a Twitter mob, people who apparently have nothing to do but search under every rock for reasons to be irate, I think these people just have too much free time.

    • #8
    • February 24, 2020, at 12:05 PM PST
    • 7 likes
  9. Percival Thatcher
    Percival Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    • #9
    • February 24, 2020, at 12:12 PM PST
    • 5 likes
  10. Vectorman Thatcher

    Gossamer Cat (View Comment):

    I know that a lot of anger is being directed at the Baby Boomers by the millenial generation. Most of it is unfair. But the one thing I hold the Boomers accountable for is the destructive self esteem movement. It was the worst thing that we could have done to the next generation.

    The $64,000 question is who started the self esteem movement. It probably came from those who supported EEOC after the 1970’s, when integration was essentially complete. Except for sports, academic excellence had to be muted or eliminated for so-called “social justice.” Another item in their quiver was the “no child left behind” concept.


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    • #10
    • February 24, 2020, at 12:12 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  11. RightAngles Member

    Vectorman (View Comment):

    The $64,000 question is who started the self esteem movement.

    I’ll tell ya who started it and who’s responsible for the whole Left. It’s the nerds and social outcasts who were excluded from the cool lunch table in high school and they never got over it, and now it’s payback time. They think everybody is just like them, a mass of resentment and insecurity. They think if only they can shield every child from the things they went through in high school, they can Change the World and stick it to the jocks and cheerleaders at the same time. And I guess they kind of did change the world, but not in a good way.

    • #11
    • February 24, 2020, at 1:08 PM PST
    • 1 like
  12. Gossamer Cat Coolidge

    Jim Wright (View Comment):

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Reaction Wood.

    Fascinating! I’d never heard of that before.

    When they planted trees in the Biosphere they came up sickly and spindly. Why? No wind = less stress.

    In the biosphere 2, they had trees growing faster than they would grow in the wild. Also, they found that these trees wouldn’t completely mature. Before they could, they used to collapse. Later it was found that this was caused by the lack of wind in the biosphere. And it turns out, wind plays a major role in a trees life. The presence of wind makes a tree stronger, it is thus able to mature and not fall down due to its own weight.

    When plants and trees grow in the wild, the wind constantly keeps them moving. This causes a stress in the wooden load bearing structure of the tree. So, to compensate, the tree manages to grow something called the reaction wood (or stress wood)…”

    Perfect metaphor for people. 

    • #12
    • February 24, 2020, at 2:54 PM PST
    • 7 likes
  13. Jules PA Member

    Vectorman (View Comment):
    Another item in their quiver was the “no child left behind” concept.

    What we e experienced was a bastardization called no child gets ahead. 

    It is a valuable and honorable goal to leave no child behind. But not at the expense of others. And not without saying, “You are behind. You need to do XYZ to catch up. I can help you,big you are willing to work.”

    We forget that childten have agency and make choices beginning by age 2. And most certainly they can be accountable for age appropriate consequences at age 2. It is the responsibility of parents and other adults to form the child’s agency toward the proper direction. 

    What we see now is so many parents who were little held to consequences, who are now raising children held to even less consequence.

    Thank G-d there is a remnant of people who raise a child up…right. 

    • #13
    • February 24, 2020, at 4:45 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  14. Old Bathos Moderator

    In 1979, in the faculty room where I was a high school teacher, people were watching TV coverage of Pope John Paul II’s visit to the US. He was in DesMoines and talking about how God especially loved farmers. Being clever and witty, I remarked that God has a funny way of showing it what with droughts and locusts and all. I did not get big laughs with that insight.

    When I got home later that day, I looked at horror at a terrarium where I had carefully cultivated four different kinds of carnivorous plants. It appeared that a sudden gust of wind blew open a curtain which slapped against a small stack of books on a shelf above my desk causing two to fall. This in turn knocked over a lamp which crashed through the top of the terrarium and fried all of my little beauties.

    The shock abated quickly and I laughed because I figured this improbable Rube-Goldberg sequence must have happened around the time I made my intemperate remarks about God and farmers and was itself a small miracle, just God’s way of saying “I love you too, jerkweed.” 

    I admit that I certainly have not been as sanguine and accepting of other moments of more serious adversity in the years after that but life is not a one-semester online learning experience. Some lessons take a while to sink in. And adversity is invariably the homeroom teacher.

    • #14
    • February 25, 2020, at 9:09 AM PST
    • 9 likes
  15. Arahant Member

    Old Bathos (View Comment):
    just God’s way of saying “I love you too, jerkweed.”

    I’m laughing. Had those sorts of thing happen.

    • #15
    • February 25, 2020, at 9:47 AM PST
    • 4 likes
  16. Bob Wainwright Member

    No. I don’t know what kind of obsessive mental defect causes me to question health and prosperity, asking myself how I will respond if it all goes south. I reprimand myself every time I have thoughts like that. Adversity sucks. It has no redeeming qualities. Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth. 

    • #16
    • February 25, 2020, at 10:17 AM PST
    • Like
  17. PJ Coolidge
    PJ Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    From Heinlein’s masterpiece, Starship Troopers:

    There is an old song which asserts ‘the best things in life are free.’ Not true! Utterly false! This was the tragic fallacy which brought on the decadence and collapse of the democracies of the twentieth century; those noble experiments failed because the people had been led to believe that they could simply vote for whatever they wanted . . . and get it, without toil, without sweat, without tears.

    “Nothing of value is free. Even the breath of life is purchased at birth only through gasping effort and pain.” He had been still looking at me and added, “If you boys and girls had to sweat for your toys the way a newly born baby has to struggle to live you would be happier . . . and much richer. As it is, with some of you, I pity the poverty of your wealth. You! I’ve just awarded you the prize for the hundred-meter dash. Does it make you happy?”

    “Uh, I suppose it would.”

    “No dodging, please. You have the prize—here, I’ll write it out: ‘Grand prize for the championship, one hundred-meter sprint.’” He had actually come back to my seat and pinned it on my chest. “There! Are you happy? You value it—or don’t you?”

    I was sore. First that dirty crack about rich kids—a typical sneer of those who haven’t got it—and now this farce. I ripped it off and chucked it at him.

    Mr. Dubois had looked surprised. “It doesn’t make you happy?”

    “You know darn well I placed fourth!”

    “Exactly! The prize for first place is worthless to you . . . because you haven’t earned it. But you enjoy a modest satisfaction in placing fourth; you earned it. I trust that some of the somnambulists here understood this little morality play. I fancy that the poet who wrote that song meant to imply that the best things in life must be purchased other than with money—which is true—just as the literal meaning of his words is false. The best things in life are beyond money; their price is agony and sweat and devotion . . . and the price demanded for the most precious of all things in life is life itself—ultimate cost for perfect value.”

    • #17
    • February 25, 2020, at 12:36 PM PST
    • 3 likes