Do less

“If you seek tranquility, do less.” Or (more accurately) do what’s essential—what the logos of a social being requires, and in the requisite way. Which brings a double satisfaction: To do less, better. Because most of what we say and do is not essential. If you can eliminate it, you’ll have more time, and more tranquility. Ask yourself at every moment, “Is this necessary?”

~ Marcus Aurelius

The meaning at a given moment

What matters, therefore, is not the meaning of life in general but rather the specific meaning of a person’s life at a given moment. To put the question in general terms would be comparable to the question posed to a chess champion: “Tell me, Master, what is the best move in the world?”

~ Viktor Frankl

Preoccupied with work

They are always preoccupied with work so that they may be in position to live better; they spend life in making provision for life. Their plans are designed for the future, but procrastination is the greatest waste of life. It robs us of each day as it comes, and extorts the present from us on promises of the future. Expectancy is the greatest impediment to living: In anticipation of tomorrow it loses today.

~ Seneca

He who is asked

Ultimately, man should not ask what the meaning of his life is, but rather he must recognize that it is he who is asked. In a word, each man is questioned by life; and he can only answer to life by being responsible.

~ Viktor Frankl

The span we live is small

Forget everything else. Keep hold of this alone and remember it: Each of us lives only now, this brief instant. The rest has been lived already, or is impossible to see. The span we live is small—small as the corner of the Earth in which we live it. Small as even the greatest renown, passed from mouth to mouth by short-lived stick figures, ignorant alike of themselves and those long dead.

~ Marcus Aurelius, Meditations 3.10

Impregnable

But the man who puts all of his time to his own uses, who plans every day as if it were his last, is neither impatient for the morrow nor afraid of it. Is there some new kind of pleasure that an hour might bring? All are familiar, all have been experienced to the full the rest Lady Fortune may dispose of as she will; his life is now impregnable.

~ Seneca

Not satisfied

Of all people only those are at leisure who make time for philosophy, only they truly live. Not satisfied to merely keep good watch over their own days, they annex every age to their own. All the harvest of the past is added to their store. Only an ingrate would fail to see that these great architects of venerable thoughts were born for us and have designed a way of life for us.

~ Seneca

That quote opens Holiday’s, The Daily Stoic, which I have been circling through for a few years. Fortunately, I didn’t try to study Philosophy too early in life; it took me a couple decades once I started trying to improve myself for me to be ready to really listen. I hope you are far ahead of me.

In recent months I’ve been spending more time reading. The more I read, the more quotes I find to share, and the quote backlog is currently at level, “ridiculous.” I was scheduling quotes for publication in December of 2022 and finally decided I better schedule them more frequently. I have so many quotes that earlier this year I kicked off a podcast with daily quotes; search for “Little Box of Quotes” wherever you listen to podcasts.

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