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'Amor Fati': Embracing Where You Come From

A Stoic Building Block: Accepting Your Fate

It has struck me recently that when I watch athletes, celebrities, or other high-profile individuals being interviewed they always have the same two responses to questions about their childhood. These people come from many different backgrounds, yet when they are asked about where they grew up they either credit certain people for their success or talk about how the terrible environment they found themselves in pushed them to be successful. If these successful human beings were able to find the silver lining no matter how tough things got, why can’t you? 

I will admit, it is quite difficult within the context of today’s society. Domestic violence rates are on the rise and many are growing up in abusive households. Many find themselves in poverty with only the will to survive and the hope things get better. 

For all those negatives, find something to love. After all, this is what the Stoics recommended. Epictetus grew up as a slave, Diogenes lived as a homeless person in a time not kind to that type of person, and Viktor Frankl was a Holocaust survivor persecuted purely for his faith. Yet all of these men went on to live great lives of purpose and wisdom by practicing the concept of ‘Amor Fati’ or “love of your fate”. This concept involves acceptance, resilience, and ultimately embracing everything that happens in your life. When these great men did these things they exemplified how using your background to push you to greatness is the better alternative to wallowing at the cards life dealt you. 

This is the objective reality: no matter where you grew up/are growing up, no matter who is around you, no matter what resources are available to you, you have the ability to crawl out of the situation. You Have The Ability To Fight! What you don’t have is a reason to complain. You had no control over where, when, and how you were born, so don’t let those factors be the excuse for you failing in life. Life gave similar circumstances to thousands of other people out there, so it’s on you to be the one not to complain and make the best out of what you got handed to you by fate. 

As Viktor Frankl himself said “You cannot control what happens to you in life, but you can always control what you will feel and do about what happens to you.” This is the choice. Do you find something to love about your fate? Do you use the negatives to push you to great things? Is your life going to be a comeback story for the ages? Or are you going to sit there and be defeated from Day 1 by the circumstances you found yourself in. Have faith in yourself, your abilities, and use where you came from as motivation and inspiration, not a handicap or excuse.

(If you found the content of this article interesting, check out Episode 5 where we talk further about this topic)

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