#29 - On Purpose And The Shortness of Life | Seneca
We do not receive a life that is short, but rather we make it so; we are not beggar in it, but spendthrifts.
- Quote by Seneca
Seneca’s words remind us that life is not short. Rather, it is our own actions and choices that determine its perceived length and quality. We are not passive receivers of our lives, but rather active creators of them. It is up to us to make the most of the time we are blessed with, rather than squandering it or allowing it to pass us by.
Stoics believe that there is nothing more valuable than our time. As our most precious resource, we should act wisely and use it to serve a higher purpose and have a positive impact. We should strive to live in a way that is fulfilling and meaningful. Merely trying to accumulate as much wealth or pleasure as possible, will rarely make someone truly happy. By embracing this mindset, we can make the most of our time on earth and live a rich and fulfilling life.
This means we need to abide by the stoic virtues Temperance, Courage, Justice, and Wisdom.
Temperance lets us endure adversity, to gain something of higher value down the line. It might not always be pleasurable to pursue a higher meaning or a positive impact. But the cost of not facing some pain, will mitigate our chances to grow.
Courage lets us act, even though we are afraid. The adversity we face will be challenging. It will test our resolve and resilience. We must not back down. We must move forward.
Through practicing Justice we know what the right path is. It may not always be what is in our immediate best interest, though. While serving the greater good, and wanting to maximize the total gain, we must stand back at times. Putting other needs above our own.
Wisdom gives us the power to know when to act and be courageous, but also when to stand back and observe some more. Progress for the sake of action, and getting things done, with no regard to their consequences, might not be progress at all. Evaluate the situation, choosing where you spend your energy and time, is crucial.
Finally, Seneca’s words remind us that we are not beggars in life, but have the opportunity to make the most of it. Meaning and purpose are deeply personal questions. I spend some time each day reviewing what I have set out to do, and if I am moving in the right direction.
Through such reflections, I can do small, easy adjustments and avoid going off track for too long.
It definitely took some time to gain this sense of purpose and direction, though. Adversity got me there, to be honest. Through it, I have been able to confront myself. From that confrontation, a Personal Mission Statement (PMS) resulted. This personal manifest has remained untouched for the past 2+ years. It took time to develop, for sure. But it is worth investing in yourself in this manner.
We put together a stoic Notion template, including a page on how to write your mission statement.
If you don’t want to miss out on leading a life with purpose and direction, click the link below. 👇
Focus & Meaning OS (for Notion)
The Focus & Meaning OS comes feature packed with the essentials to lead a fulfilling life.
Time is our most valuable asset. Explore your meaning in life, and then apply yourself to have a positive impact in that area.
Now I’d love to hear from you!
What situation have you dealt with where you had to make tough choices about where to invest your time?
Or maybe you have another great quote regarding Justice? Don’t hesitate to submit it via this form or leave a comment 📝
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