(The Will to Power, F. Nietzche)
Don’t you find these pessimistic thoughts by Nietzche strangely consoling? They are so refreshing to hear in a society saturated with self-help books and success stories of people who have managed to change their lives from rags to riches, from being snubbed to popular, from being miserable to overjoyed…
Well, I don’t buy the books or the concepts they espouse. Misfortunes are an inevitable part of life in a society where there are so many factors beyond our control to consider. Self-help books, new age gurus and social leaders highlight success stories to convince us that society is based on meritocracy so that we can believe that it is purely up to us to make the right moves for more fulfilling lives.
So, if you are in a rut, realise that you are the standard rather than the exception. We, the ordinary people, stuck in the chicken coop with mediocre marriages and unglamorous jobs are the norm. Breaking out of this trench is just as rare today as it was for 18th century peasants to become members of the French aristocracy. The sooner we realize this the more relieved we can feel knowing that we are not to blame for all our shortcomings (perhaps, only for some of them). No, we do not deserve our failures and we can thank the goddess of fortune for sending us the right conditions to allow for our success.
Next time you’re feeling down, take comfort in a quote by Seneca, “What need is there to weep over parts of life? The whole of it calls for tears.”
Hence, why harbour optimistic expectations when these can only lead to false happiness and disappointment when things don’t happen as we envision? It is far better to expect the worst and be pleasantly surprised. And if the worst really does strike – then perhaps we can listen to sad songs by reclusive Leonard Cohen or heart-wrenching Edith Piaf or maybe wrist-slitting Emilie Autumn (may I suggest "Misery Loves Company") and realize that we are not alone…
So if you are feeling unfulfilled, remember that you are just the norm. Like me.
CLICK HERE FOR MY MUSIC DEDICATION TO YOU! (Feel free to sing along!)