“There is good in everything, if only we look for it.”

Laura Ingalls Wilder had a hard scrabble existence. From the Kansas prairies to the backwoods of Florida, she and her family eked out a life from some of the most unforgiving environments on the planet. She endured—and eventually thrived—despite this, due primarily to her Stoic optimism. “There is good in everything,” she later wrote, “if only we look for it.”

A couple centuries earlier, Shakespeare wrote something similar. “Nothing either good nor bad but thinking makes it so.” Both these lines could have been uttered by Seneca or Marcus Aurelius or Epictetus. At the core of Stoicism is the idea that external events are made good or bad by our opinions about what they mean.

They also held that we can make seemingly “negative” events good with our actions. That’s what Laura Ingalls Wilder did. Whereas some would have been miserable in her position, she faced her life with a pioneer’s spirit of adventure. She managed to make not only a life for herself and her family, but through her columns and popular books, she inspired millions of people to face their own situations with similar pluck.

Let us face today with the same spirit and look for the good in everything.

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