It is more fitting for a man to laugh at life than to lament over it. – Seneca
What does that mean?
I’m sure you’ve met someone who spends more time complaining about things than they do working to make things better. Their lamentations do them no good, as nothing productive can come from that course of action (or, as it is more often than not, a course of inaction).
The course of action proffered by this quote is to laugh in the face of the trials and travails of life, rather than whine or complain. While it’s not always appropriate to laugh, neither is it always appropriate to lament. In my experience, laughter is more frequently the proper response than is lamentation. I have also found that laughter is far more empowering than lamenting.
Why is perspective important?
This quote points out that you can laugh or lament over any event in your life. While it might be easier to laugh when things go well, it is far more important to laugh when things go badly.
At thefreedictionary.com, perspective is defined as “A mental view or outlook” and “Subjective evaluation of relative significance; a point of view.” So, for the purposes of this quote, we’re talking about the mental ability to evaluate the significance of an event. In other words, decide how to “take” a particular event, and how to react to it.
How does one learn to laugh in the face of adversity? My suggestion is to use perspective. One form of perspective is time. Another is the perspective of success vs failure. Yet another is to look at an event from the viewpoint of someone else.
The list of types of perspective can go on for quite a while, and if you’re in a creative mood, feel free to dig in and come up with some more. You are also welcome to share your ideas with the rest of us, in the comments section, below.
Where can I apply this in my life?
One of the ways I mentioned was the perspective gained through the passage of time. If you will laugh about this event in ten years, why wait? How many times have you done something, and then laughed about it years or decades later when re-telling the story, or reliving it with some of the people who were there? Don’t waste years while waiting, laugh now!
Another one of the ways I mentioned was the perspective of success vs failure. Neither one actually exists. Both are simply events. One event has a more favorable result than the other, but that is their only difference. With that in mind, is it not a little easier to laugh in the face of adversity?
Another one of the ways I mentioned was the perspective of some other person. What would Thomas Edison say about this non-lightbulb? Just another way to not make a light bulb. Draw what you can from the experiment and try again. A slightly more productive response than sitting in the corner crying in your beer, lamenting another failure, right?
So how does one actually get a different or more empowering perspective in life? For me, it started with a change in my beliefs. When I stopped believing that I was a victim, that I was powerless, that’s when things started to change.
I began believing in myself, and finding all the successes I had and started ignoring the failures that I had. I shouldn’t say ignore, because I turned each alleged ‘failure’ into a learning opportunity. If I could learn something to use the next time I tried, then it wasn’t a failure. I learned a way, to paraphrase Edison, to not not make a light bulb.
In short, I stopped allowing myself to give up at each failure, but used each as a stepping stone towards success. How are you treating your failures? Are they an excuse to quit, or a challenge to be met? Which one is more productive, lamentation or laughter coupled with industry?
Since then, I have changed my vocabulary to practically eliminate the use of the word failure, but I have found that it confuses people, so I still use it in the common usage, so as to better communicate my ideas.
The whole point of the quote is to not let your troubles get you down. There are many ways to get there, and what works for you may well be different than that which works for me. Experiment, note what works best and experiment some more. And don’t forget to laugh, it really does help.
From: Twitter, @philo_quotes
confirmed at : http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/l/luciusanna155023.html
Photo by doortoriver