Nature possesses extraordinary talents of creation and adaptation, so extraordinary are these talents that none can be found to rival them in the known Universe.
How small we are to think a tree is just a tree.
A tree has ideas, ideas on how it should grow, much in the same way a philosopher does as they both aspire to reach new heights by means of finding a balance between their very nature and that of the world around them.
They understand how to grow, but as they do the elements and organisms around them will influence how this growth is to be accomplished.
A snapped branch here, a drought there, and pest infiltration thereafter. If the tree survives these ever-present struggles it will continue on its quest to grow taller and stronger, but the scares and mutilations of these struggles will forever be represented upon it.
To better the odds of survival, a tree is ever laying down new roots to further strengthen itself where it stands, having resolved to make the best of where it is by seeking out new sources of nutrients and suffering more damage and some success as it does so. Making the most of what it has, a tree can choose to have a branch that has grown too close to the ground turn into a root: It digs in and then becomes a root that will now feed on soil instead of the Sun.
To be of sound mind, one must be in kinship with the philosophy of the tree.
Developing a sound mind and a life of principle is no different than growing a sapling. The process is decades long, ripe with hostility, pain and suffering, stagnation, drought, broken and dead parts, rapid adaptations, mutilations, and a looming certainty of death in its absolute.
Do not surrender to hardship. To do so is to submit to the conditions and devouring forces around us. Make no mistake: If we do not live our lives in pursuit of meaning, our surroundings will find meaning in digesting us, one small piece at a time.
Keep growing. Let your broken bits show you are a survivor. For when you stand tall, they will show your strength undeniably.