If you want any perspective on life, you have to listen to this podcast immediately. All of it is great, but I am talking about the part from 41:39 to 48:22.
If you don't have time to listen then my summary is below, that surely will not do it justice, but here goes:
Remember that your time on this Earth is fleeting. Thinking about the history of human beings, if it was a 700-page book, you would only be alive for a sentence at most. This is the most exciting time to be alive and most people will not do anything that would make it into that book. There have been so many amazing shifts in technology and communication that it is very unlikely that you will make an impact big enough to hit the 700-page highlight reel of human history.
But you can still make an impact.
To your friends. To your parents. To your children. To your teachers. To your mentees. To your co-workers.
You do not have much time to be alive. Why must we waste any of it?. Each day is fleeting and we must make it our own.
Ideally, when I did the website for our app launch I wanted to remind people they are going to die, but I didn't think this would be well received. Most people think that remembering death is morbid rather than liberating.
I have just bought two coins from dailystoic that have made a prominent place on my desk. Memento Mori, remembering that we are going to die, I find a great daily (and more frequent the reminder the better) to treat people better including myself. I need to treat each hour as every hour ticking away.
Do you really want to waste a precious human life sitting for an hour in a meeting that is going nowhere? That is no use to anyone involved?
What if it was your last hour alive? Well should it be any different to this hour, that all count towards death the same.
I read the following from Seneca today which puts it better than I could:
"But we to whom such corruptible bodies have been allotted, nevertheless set eternity before our eyes, and in our hopes grasp at the utmost space of time to which the life of man can be extended, satisfied with no income and with no influence. What can be more shameless or foolish than this? Nothing is enough for us, though we must die some day, or rather, are already dying; for we stand daily nearer the brink, and every hour of time thrusts us on towards the precipice over which we must fall. See how blind our minds are! What I speak of as in the future is happening at this minute, and a large portion of it has already happened; for it consists of our past lives. But we are mistaken in fearing the last day, seeing that each day, as it passes, counts just as much to the credit of death...
If you are going out drinking. If you are staying in watching Love Island. If you are spending time complaining to someone else.
You are not spending time improving yourself. Surely, this is the only way out of any situation?
Why do anything else? Complaining about others makes you feel worse. Cultivating a habit of seeing the best in people makes you feel better. Assuming everyone else does not know what they are doing makes you take control of your own life.
Assume the best, plan for the worst.
Do your own thing.
Is success cash on a bed? A watch on your wrist? A car in your drive?
If you do not have these then you might think it is? If you have ever tasted a little piece of them, you will know that it is not.
Define success and find that you might already have it. Or at least find that you do not have to chase material things to make you happy.
I am loving the straight talk and cursing of this book to hammer home the points to my subconscious. Stoicism reworded for a new generation. It is a subtle art, and this book shows yourself that a lot about what you care about is not that important, so you should save yourself for things that are truly important.
“You’re going to die one day. I know that’s kind of obvious, but I just wanted to remind you in case you’d forgotten. You and everyone you know are going to be dead soon. And in the short amount of time between here and there, you have a limited amount of fucks to give. Very few, in fact. And if you go around giving a fuck about everything and everyone without conscious thought or choice—well, then you’re going to get fucked.”
Many famous people have found teachings in the private notes of Marcus Aurelius. Although written long ago, the problems are the same. Like Letters From A Stoic by Seneca, I find Meditations best when consumed little by little daily.
Goal setting and following your vision is not new, it has been a struggle for millennia. This has been repeated throughout history (see Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill). To truly get to success, you need to know what you are aiming for.
Excerpt from Letters from a Stoic:
“For whatever we do ought to be in harmony with this; no man can set in order the details unless he has already set before himself the chief purpose of his life.”
“The reason we make mistakes is because we all consider the parts of life, but never life as a whole.”
Everyone has their thing. What's your thing?
I have no interest in Rolex watches. When the Apple Watch came out everyone was saying “£500? That’s expensive, what does it do?” Well if it just told the time, it is still only 10% of the price of an entry level Rolex.
So, what is the real question?
That people in the know, know how much it is? A Rolex to me looks the same as £50 watch, but I am not in the know. An Apple Watch is definitely more functional, as in it has more functions, but you definitely do not need one.
How much value is an object adding to your life? Maybe a lot? Is it bringing you the same happiness as financial freedom?
Everyone has their thing, but if you can minimise your things, happiness is behind them. Would you rather have a Rolex now or £500k 40 years later. Most people aren't thinking like this, even when they are buying their £3 latte’s three times a day. It adds up and compounds.
Buy what you want. But if you can want less in the short-term, you will have to work less to get freedom in the long term. Realise it is a choice.
How much work left outstanding is acceptable?
No one is leaving work having completed everything they must do. So how much work left outstanding is acceptable?
It seems to be arbitrary.
If you are in the office for eight hours then if you have stuff left over that is okay?
What if Jane get twice as much done as Greg. Why is it acceptable for Greg to leave twice as much outstanding? Why is it not acceptable for Jane to work four hours and have the same amount of work left for tomorrow?
In the corporate world, no one is thinking like this. Like they have finite time on the planet.
If you can do a day’s work in half a day why are you working full days? Because they have paid for your time, not your results, despite what your annual review says. And no one cares, as long as they see you around looking busy.
The most important decision you can make is what time you are going to stop work today. But realise this is for you and your family, not because you have done enough work for the day. There is always more to do. So why not do something you love to do?
"The ordinary man is always doing things,