#30 - On Extending Your Life Living Longer and Without Fear | Duality of Life by Seneca
Hello Stoic Friend,
This will be the last quote reflection for a while, but worry not! More content is coming for sure, and quotes might be part of it, just not its center. Make sure to sign up to the newsletter below to get updates for what is coming next.
In that sense, have fun reading the 30th quote reflection & I wish everybody a merry Christmas or whatever else you might be celebrating. 🎉
But life is very short and anxious for those who forget the past, neglect the present, and fear the future.
- Quote by Seneca
This week’s quote highlights the importance of being mindful and present. But instead, we often become consumed by anxieties about the past or future. This message aligns with Stoicism, which advocates for living “in accordance with nature”. To see and understand things as they are. We can do so by accepting circumstances, as they happen. Because often enough, we have no control over them. By applying reason and virtue to our life, we can avoid becoming overwhelmed by negative emotions.
Two of the cornerstone virtues in Stoicism are courage and wisdom. By combining these with other stoic principles, we can navigate the challenges and uncertainties of life with much greater ease. Stoics commonly report their lives to be more meaningful and fulfilling after they adopt this way of thinking.
Courage involves the ability to face situations, despite them being difficult or dangerous. True courage is not about being fearless or reckless. It’s about being able to confront adversity with strength and determination. Seneca tries to motivate us to be less anxious, by taking action.
Wisdom involves the ability to think critically and make sound judgments. Only wisdom will allow you to decide when to act, hold on, or retreat. Wisdom is not just about accumulating knowledge or information, though. Rather, it’s about using that knowledge to live a virtuous and fulfilling life.
Beside the virtues, Stoicism has a few core concepts. One, we already touched on today.
“Amor Fati” encourages us to live in the present moment and embrace whatever happens, as it is the idea of “love of fate”. This is the central principle of Seneca’s quote, I believe. Anything that happens to us is an opportunity for growth and self-development. Do not resist or try to change what happens. Accept and find meaning and purpose in it. This requires a sense of detachment from external events. Plus, the ability to find contentment and peace within ourselves, no matter what happens in the world around us.
Another key concept in Stoicism (prob. also the most famous one) is “memento mori,” aka. “remember that you will die.” This, too, serves as a reminder to live in the present moment and to make the most of our time. We can be more mindful of how we choose to live our lives by remembering that we will eventually die. Let’s make choices that align with our values and priorities now, so we can depart without regrets.
Try stepping away from the trigger, and detaching yourself when anxiety threatens to consume you. Find a quiet place and meditate on the things in your life that make you feel safe. Return to the world with renewed courage to embrace the adversity. This is often referred to as the Inner Citadel, the place inside us only we have access to. Marcus Aurelius often used this technique when he was emperor of Rome, to regain resolve and willpower.
Cultivate virtues like courage and wisdom. Invest time in applying principles like Amor Fati and Memento Mori. Through that, we gain the ability to accept and embrace the present moment. And by embracing the present moment, we can focus on what actually makes a difference in our life.
Remember Alice Morse Earle’s quote:
The clock is running. Make the most of today. Time waits for no man. Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift. That’s why it is called the present.
Worry less. Do more of what you want to do. Don’t let others or anxiety hold you back. The best remedy to get rid of it is staring the beast in the face!
Now I’d love to hear from you!
What situation have you dealt with where you overcame anxiety and actually tackled the damn thing?
Or maybe you have another great quote regarding courage? Don’t hesitate to submit it via this form or leave a comment 📝
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