What Is Life About?

Every person’s life is constituted of two major things; the good times and the bad times a person goes through. When talking about the ups and downs, it is important not to forget the golden opportunities as well as the difficulties one faces. However, the way a person handles these things depend largely on his capabilities and fortitude. The popularity of this topic and its vague conclusion urges one to discuss this issue. Interpreting what Robert Louis Stevenson said, life is all about managing your resources and utilizing whatever chances you get. The ‘good cards’ refer to the opportunities one gets in life and the ‘poor hand’ relates to the hardships and the difficult times one has to face in life.

Like Stevenson has said in this quote, life is not just about getting good opportunities all the but it is also a matter of overcoming the difficulties and enduring the hardships otherwise the outcome can be quite de-moralizing.  Although people widely having good opportunities is everything life is about, however, what you make of those opportunities contributes towards a major part of one’s life because even the worst of opportunities can be overcome with determination, time can rapidly change the circumstances beyond one’s control and things can prove to be trying in the professional world despite there being resources and talent.

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Every person must overcome difficult times at some point in their life despite having golden opportunities, be it professional, social or personal life, to achieve success. Such a case can be found in the professional life of the most successful Pakistani test captain, Misbah-ul-Haq, more affectionately referred to as King Misbah by his gigantic crowd of fans. The ‘poor hand’ in this context relates to the tough times faced by the captain. This cannot be considered properly without going back in time to arguably Pakistan cricket’s darkest era when the Srilankan cricket team was attacked by terrorists in Lahore on 4th March 2009 while on their way to Gaddafi Stadium for day 3 of the 2nd test of the 2008-09 series against Pakistan. The tour was immediately abandoned and the visitors were, at once, taken back to their homeland. Although the real victims of the attack were the Srilankan cricketers but Pakistan cricket has been the victim ever since. (Kimber)

The fans and the team had still not fully recovered from the after effects of this tragedy when a bigger incident occurred in 2010 on Pakistan team’s tour of England where the green shirts lost three of their best players of the lot due to spot-fixing. The men in green faced a tarnished reputation in front of the whole world and were looked upon as cheaters. Such was the challenging circumstances faced by Misbah. As time progressed, Misbah turned out to be arguably the most criticized player in Pakistan, given his slow strike rate and lack of control over the team, but little did anyone know that the ’Captain under criticism’ would then re-build the tainted 2010 test team into one of the most formidable test sides of the world and gain the No.1 spot for the first time since the ICC Test rankings were officially introduced in 2003. This outstandingly exemplifies the stage of life where one has to face the hard times and overcome them like Misbah-ul-Haq and what Robert Louis Stevenson said in his quote.


Apart from being given poor opportunities, things can turn around quickly for anyone and present them with unfavorable circumstances beyond their control. How a person handles such situations and makes their way out of hardships towards success and glory is what Stevenson talked about. The story which deserves to be talked about in this case is of Dwayne Johnson also known as ‘The Rock.’ The strong financial crisis that hit his family forced them to indulge in theft and pickpocketing, consequently leading to Dwayne Johnson being arrested multiple times and that too during his teenage. (Banks)While also keeping in mind the fact that he used to play football for his high school and college team but was dropped suddenly by his coach, such conditions would have surely lead majority of people to give up on striving hard and let everything go.

However, The Rock would prove to follow a course of action much different from what other people would do. He, despite getting an offer to return to his football career, decided to take up on wrestling, something that his grandfather as well his father had been a part of during their professional careers and he got all the moral support he needed from his dad. (Caldwell) Had Dwayne Johnson given up back in his teenage and not found a way out of those hard times, the world would not have heard of The Rock or the wrestler turned actor who ended up being ranked as the highest paid actor in Hollywood. Hence, playing a poor hand well in this case refers to struggling hard and never giving up to eventually be successful.

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Talking further about the ups and downs in life, life does not necessarily have to be about playing a poor hand well i.e. just surviving the hard times but also a great deal about having good opportunities and resources but still facing hard times since things can prove to be testing in the professional world and overcoming those tough times. Having resources at one’s disposal does not just refer to having wealth, power and workforce to follow a course of action but it also very much relates to possessing good leadership skills and a great mind, one of the most important assets a person can possibly possess. The world has seen numerous examples of people with great leadership skills yet facing hardships like Abraham Lincoln, Susan B. Anthony and Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

Just like a person follows certain steps and techniques to overcome these problems, David Mammano in his article talks about a similar situation faced by entrepreneurs. Being a good leader is all about rising to the occasion during difficult times and facing the challenge. Great leaders know that only dead fish swim with the current. So, they work harder to get through trying times, searching for more creative solutions and inspiring their coworkers to stay engaged. This serves as an excellent support when people say one must undergo difficulties despite having resources at hand.

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However, if we look at the other side of the argument. People say that if one gets golden chances and opportunities in life, that’s all they need to have while not keeping in mind that one needs to make the most out those chances efficiently. We may be presented with examples where people had the ‘good cards’ and that is all life was about for them but we also have cases where people, despite having opportunities, failed to make the most out of them and hence, ended up not ‘playing a poor hand well.’ We can look at the case of Lance Armstrong, the champion cyclist. Starting as a young promising and talented rider, he found himself affected by cancer.

Nevertheless, like numerous other people and those mentioned above, Lance fought hard and overcame the disease and then went on to win the esteemed Tour de France seven times. (Rapp) He became one of the most inspirational athletes of the world but then ended up ‘playing poor hand badly.’ When evidence surfaced about him resorting to the use of performance enhancing drugs, it ended up damaging his reputation badly and affected his career to a huge extent. He then admitted to the offence and this consequently destroyed his image and career to an extent where it could not be restored. Therefore, it is quite clear that having good opportunities are not all life is about but it is also about utilizing them to their maximum potential.


In conclusion, life is a lot more than just facing ups and downs and feeling depressed or helpless. It is about facing those difficulties boldly and striving hard to overcome them and achieving success. Like Robert Louis Stevenson said in his quote, life is not just about having good chances and opportunities but it is about utilizing them properly and surviving the bad times. Although a potential argument against this can be that ‘good cards’ are everything life is about, it can be easily refuted with the fact that people have failed despite having good resources but not managing them properly. Life is about fighting hard through difficult situations, getting through hard times due to suddenly changing times to gain success and getting out of hard times despite having good resources.

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