How To Stay Worthy Of Yourself | Marcus Aurelius
A short reflection on how to fight the mediocrity that creeps up on us | Summum Bonum | Stoicism
Our own worth is measured by what we devote our energy to.
- Quote by Marcus Aurelius
How much is another Netflix episode worth?
I could stop right here and the point would probably have been made — after all this is a straightforward quote — or is it? Let’s explore this a little.
First of all, who decides how much something is worth?
You do. It’s your life.
Is studying some subject you don’t really care about and have no use for worth it, just because studying is generally considered a worthwhile thing?
Maybe it is because it will give you a broader perspective on a topic, even if you’d rather be working on your side project. But then the worthwhile thing is not studying that one thing but gaining a deeper understanding of how a larger field of study comes together.
Maybe it isn’t because you will never use it and it’s just a marginal improvement whose broader concepts you could google in 60 seconds and the rest is usually handled by experts anyway.
Me studying accounting in my 2nd semester — boy did I hate it.
I had no use for it back then and neither do I have one now.
BUT — it gave me a better perspective on the inner workings of companies plus some general concepts that apply in that field. It helps me take relevant factors into consideration when thinking about business problems — big-picture things.
Could I have reduced the time of learning about this from a one semester-long course to a few hours of research on Google? Most definitely.
Would I have passed the exam? Much less definitely.
How does that answer the worthiness question?
You have to define what’s worthy or not of your time.
You will have to make some hard calls during your life, and you will have to make them daily.
You hear it all the time — most successful people say “No” for often than “Yes”.
They are extremely picky with their time.
Imagine saying No to most of those weekend escapades, or late-night binge-watching marathons.
Imagine all the fun stuff you’d miss. Is your FOMO triggered yet?
Let me elaborate: Imagine missing out on all the liver damage, all the sleeping in, all the money wasted.
Imagine all the other things you could accomplish. All the time you’d have gotten back working on what you really want and doing X in moderation.
Imagine going on like this forever. Where will you be in 10 years if you’d go on autopilot right now? What could you have if you start putting in the work?
Where is your FOMO now?
And this is not only about you. If you want a family, you will also work for them, to make their lives better and stable. And never mind that, what about your contribution to society?
What’s it worth to you and others when you invest time into things that don’t have a positive return on your life or the lives of others?
That’s a net negative investment. You’d get rid of those titles in your portfolio real fast. So, how are you stacking up? What’s the ROI of your actions?
This is not to rain on your parade or talk down to you. This is a reminder for you to be 100% honest to yourself and pursue your life’s dreams. And after all — I am often writing these reflections from a 3rd-person perspective, not to anyone else than myself 😄
It takes Wisdom to make good decisions and Courage to face yourself, as I have repeated a lot already in past reflections. Those are two of the 4 cardinal virtues in stoicism, the principles to which you can retrace any decision you make.
Imagine going on autopilot right now, where will you be in 10 years?
Get to a level where you can be sure to be on a sustainable track to achieve the greatness you are after. For yourself and others.
Now we’d love to hear from you.
What situation have you dealt with where you had to re-evaluate your priorities?
Or maybe you have another great quote regarding wisdom? Don’t hesitate to contact us through the quote submission form 📝
Want more? Check out last week’s reflection