There is a scene in Cormac McCarthy’s dark and beautiful novel All the Pretty Horses, where Emilio Perez asks John Grady a question that we would do well to think about in our own difficult circumstances.
“The world wants to know if you have cojones. If you are brave?”
This is something the Stoics might have expressed in slightly different terminology. Seneca would say that he actually pitied people who have never experienced misfortune. “You have passed through life without an opponent,” he said, “No one can ever know what you are capable of, not even you.”
The world wants to know what category to put you in, which is why it will occasionally send difficult situations your way. Think of these not as inconveniences or even tragedies but as opportunities, as questions to answers. Do I have cojones? Am I brave?
And let your actions etch a response into the record.
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