“The point is not to wish for these adversities but for the virtue that makes adversities bearable.” – Seneca
The preamble to this quote from Seneca was a brief discussion of some examples of strife that he or other members of the Roman Empire might endure, namely illness and war. Sadly, these two adversities are very much a real and imminent threat for many today. Those of us lucky enough to have different adversities may be nevertheless burdened with troublesome issues such as debt, divorce, injury, grief, joblessness, insecurity, shame and more.
No person wishes for these things. Life would be much better if we could enjoy our existence free from these or any other such issues that plague us. However, these issues are very real, and while we may be unsure of what specifically will assail us, we can be sure that something, many things, throughout our lives will go wrong. To wish for a life free of such problems would be naive, because they more or less certain and because the majority of them are entirely out of our control influence.
What we can do, is control our attitude, thoughts, and actions towards such adversities, and to wish for the mental fortitude to give us the strength of will and character to endure. This is precisely what Seneca is saying. Not only did he wish for the strength to make adversity bearable, and he dealt with his fare share during his exile and scandal, but he prepared himself such that when adversity befell him he was prepared. We would do well to do the same.