“If you had been born among the Persians, you would not have wanted to live in Greece, but to have lived in Persia happy: so if you are born in poverty, why do you seek to grow rich, and why do you not remain in poverty and be happy?” – Epictetus
This is less about being happy being poor, which by now is a cliched romanticized story in our wealth obsessed culture, and more about choosing to be happy no matter what situation we find ourselves in.
We do not control where we are born. This true geographically, socially, and economically. We do not chose the nations, the families, or the level of wealth we are born into.
It is possible we could work hard, take advantage of a few opportunities, enjoy some measure of success, and rise above our current station.
It is possible we could work hard, take advantage of a few opportunities, have everything fall apart, and end up in worse shape than we are now.
Fate can be frustrating if we choose to allow it to be.
Happiness, which I am interpreting at contentment with life, is a choice we make no matter where we are in life. We choose how we see things, we choose how we experience things, and we choose how we allow our situation to affect us. We can choose to be grateful with what we have in life and we can choose to be content where we are.
Being content with where you are doesn’t mean that you have to stop trying to be better, it just means you are going to be happy no matter how the game turns out.
Virtus Fortis Vocat