The Greek historian Herodotus wrote, “At birth, for every man there is or ever shall be, misfortune is part of the mixture — and the greater the man the greater the misfortune.” It is true that no man is promised a life without trials or sorrows. But I believe that we create our own misfortunes. As he says, the greater man will have much greater misfortunes. On the same page, however, the more good the man, meaning the more virtue one possesses, the better the misfortunes. Just because you are virtuous doesn’t mean life will be void of tribulations. It simply means that you have that ability to get through them. You have somewhere to turn in the event of sadness and strife. You have the knowledge one needs to avoid bad situations. You have the courage to get through the hard times. Because with virtue comes a constant sense of happiness, true happiness. A clean soul will not get stained unless we let it. So we create what misfortunes we encounter, or really what misfortunes we let define us. Something I’ve gotten from reading Herodotus lately is that in his culture, or the one a generation before him that he is writing about, is that they truly believed in a kind of karma. When men did bad things, they had bad things done to them. And there was always a warning that these people just didn’t follow. The good ones did. And they were rewarded for it. Spartan king Leonidus knew he was going to die at the battle of Thermopylae. It was either that or Sparta would be given to the Persians. But he chose his own misfortune. He knew that staying at this battle and sacrificing his life was his duty. He wouldn’t leave as others did. And while he may not have been rewarded in a worldly sense, his people were. He probably got a much better reward in the long run anyways. Because don’t forget that there’s eternal misfortune as well. And people are creating that for themselves everyday.