Every so often I see posts, usually on Reddit, that say something similar to “what would you tell your 15-year-old self” and I always think through the same things. There have been times in my life that I’d rather had avoided. Terrible, painful times that have left emotional and physical scars on myself. However, as an ever showing optimist, it was all worth it to get here.
I could tell myself to not play in that football game that ended my career. Or avoid that relationship that ruined me for a few years. Life events that you would rather not go through always come to mind, but as with every time travelling film teaches us, small events lead to more significant changes. There could be some gains to be made, but if there is any risk of me not getting to meet my wife and have my wonderful kids, for me, it isn’t worth the risk.
Friedrich Nietzsche proposed a thought experiment based on Eternal Recurrence. A demon comes to you at night and says the life you are living is just a cycle. One you will carry on reliving over and over again, exactly the same. All the pain, all the joy. Everything, as it was, forever. Would this change your outlook on life? Would you look at this as a gift or a curse?
Greater than this though. Whenever you experience painful times, would you look on them better, knowing that they all lead to a point that made you happy. That in those darkest hours when you felt like the world was ending, there was always light at the end. Your newly opened eyes would treat these life events with a more Stoic approach. An acceptance that these bad times need to be bared to get to the good times.
Then this demon is not required to change your way of thinking because this reality is already true. Through all darkness, there comes light, not matter hoe small. Although we are not destined to repeat our lives over and over again (that we know of) the same thoughts are true.
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