There Are Two Tragedies in Life: Quote Explanation

Life is a journey full of ups and downs, and everyone has their own idea of what they want from it. Some of us seek wealth, others crave power or fame, while others prioritize love and relationships. However, no matter what we desire, there are always two possible outcomes: getting what we want, or not getting it. Oscar Wilde, the famous Irish playwright, once said that there are only two tragedies in life: one is not getting what one wants, and the other is getting it. In this blog post, we will delve deeper into what Wilde meant by this statement and how it applies to our lives.

There Are Two Tragedies in Life

The Tragedy of Not Getting What One Wants

The first tragedy Wilde speaks of is not getting what we want. We all have dreams and aspirations, and when we fail to achieve them, it can be devastating. Whether it’s not getting the job we applied for, failing to win the heart of someone we love, or not achieving a certain level of success, disappointment and frustration can set in. However, it is important to remember that not getting what we want is not necessarily a bad thing. It can teach us valuable lessons about resilience, determination, and the importance of perseverance. It can also push us to seek new opportunities and find happiness in unexpected places.

The Tragedy of Getting What One Wants

The second tragedy Wilde speaks of is getting what we want. This may seem counterintuitive at first, but it is not hard to see how achieving our goals can lead to tragedy. When we get what we want, we may become complacent and lose sight of our values and principles. We may also find that what we thought would bring us happiness does not live up to our expectations, leaving us feeling unfulfilled and empty. Moreover, achieving success can also bring about envy and jealousy from others, leading to a sense of isolation and loneliness.

Balancing Ambition and Contentment

So how do we avoid the tragedies of both getting what we want and not getting what we want? The key is to strike a balance between ambition and contentment. It is important to set goals and work hard towards them, but we should also learn to appreciate what we have and find joy in the present moment. This requires a shift in mindset from always wanting more to being grateful for what we already have. By cultivating gratitude, we can develop a sense of inner peace and fulfillment, regardless of our circumstances.

Embracing the Journey

Ultimately, life is not just about achieving our goals, but about the journey we take to get there. We may face setbacks and disappointments along the way, but these experiences shape us and make us stronger. We should learn to embrace the journey, both the highs and the lows, and appreciate the people and experiences that make it meaningful. By doing so, we can find happiness and fulfillment, regardless of whether or not we get what we want.

Coping with the Tragedies of Life

Life is unpredictable, and sometimes we are faced with tragedies that can be difficult to cope with. Whether it’s not getting what we want or getting it and realizing it wasn’t what we thought it would be, dealing with these disappointments can be challenging. However, there are ways to cope and move forward.

One way to cope with tragedy is to allow ourselves to feel our emotions fully. It’s okay to be sad, angry, or disappointed. Suppressing these emotions will only prolong the healing process. Instead, we should acknowledge our feelings and allow ourselves to grieve. It’s important to remember that healing takes time and that there is no right or wrong way to grieve.

Another way to cope with tragedy is to seek support from others. Surrounding ourselves with loved ones who can offer comfort and understanding can be incredibly helpful. It’s important to remember that we don’t have to go through difficult times alone.

In addition to seeking support, it’s important to take care of ourselves physically and mentally. This means eating well, getting enough sleep, and engaging in activities that bring us joy. We should also be kind to ourselves and avoid self-blame or self-criticism. It’s okay to make mistakes and to not have everything figured out.

Finally, we can cope with tragedy by finding meaning in our experiences. While it may be difficult to see at the time, challenges and disappointments can offer opportunities for growth and self-discovery. By embracing the journey and viewing setbacks as opportunities, we can learn and grow from our experiences.


Oscar Wilde’s quote “There Are Two Tragedies in Life: one is not getting what one wants, and the other is getting it” reminds us that there are two sides to every coin, and that success and failure can both lead to tragedy. However, by balancing ambition and contentment, and embracing the journey, we can find happiness and fulfillment in life. It is important to remember that our aspirations and desires may change over time, and that what we want today may not be what we want tomorrow. By staying open to new experiences and perspectives, we can continue to grow and evolve, no matter what life throws our way.

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