The Thought for the Day – Cervantes

Fortune is guiding our affairs better than we ourselves could have wished. – Miguel de Cervantes, Don Quixote


Miguel de Cervantes (1547-1616) was a Spanish writer, with Don Quixote universally acclaimed as a landmark of human letters. It is the second-most translated book in human history, trailing only the Bible, and its influence on other writers has been profound and the word quixotic quickly worked its way into languages the world over, referring to something that is foolishly impractical or exceedingly idealistic. Today’s Thought actually comes from when Quixote and his faithful companion Sancho Panza come across three dozen or so windmills that Quixote, who has lost his mind, wants to go to war against, thinking them giants whose slaying promises fame and fortune.  

(Though generally published as a single volume now, Don Quixote originally was published in two volumes, in 1605 and 1615. It’s complete title, incidentally, is The Ingenious Nobleman Sir Quixote of La Mancha.)

We cannot control every aspect of our lives. We can dream and plan and even scheme but there are an awful lot of us on this planet and we are all leading more or less random lives and those who attempt to micromanage their own lives as well as manipulate others often find themselves frustrated when things do not work out like they had hoped. However, those who surrender to what their hearts tell them to do, regardless of what that may be, and have the patience to see it through to the end, are generally those who are enjoying lives well spent.

Fortune is guiding our affairs…

Leaving matters to fortune is simultaneously difficult and easy. It’s difficult because it involves shedding the safety of the familiar and the roles others may have assigned us. On the other hand, it’s easy because all there is to do is follow our hearts, which tell us where to go and trust our instincts, which tell us how to get there.

…better than we ourselves could have wished.

Fortune has the life we want waiting for us for only the price of the wisdom to recognize our talents, the courage to get the most out of them and the patience to see our journey through. When we do this, when we shed outside influences and live from the inside out, we allow Fortune to take us where we were meant to go.

The Thought for the Day runs regularly. Gaylon began stockpiling quotes in 1988.

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