"Sweet are the uses of adversity" is the beginning of a famous speech by the exiled Duke Senior in Shakespeare's As You Like It." He is expressing a truth which may seem paradoxical but which has often been experienced by people suffering from adversity, i.e., bad luck, misfortune. Adversity can bring out previously unknown strengths in people's characters. It can lead to unforeseen opportunities. For example, a man might lose his job and feel depressed because he is having a hard time finding a new one, and yet he may end up finding a much more satisfying job or a better-paying job. This is a common experience. He may be forced to move to a different city to find work, and this may lead to new friends and better opportunities. For the Duke and his followers it was a pleasure to get away from stultifying, insincere court life, to be able to commune with nature, to enjoy a life of leisure and peace of mind. Adversity often forces a person to re-think his life, his values, and his objectives. Buddha expressed these truths as follows:
People naturally fear misfortune and long for good fortune; but if the distinction is carefully studied, misfortune often turns out to be good fortune and good fortune to be misfortune.