Seneca Letter 1: On Saving Time

The stoic hype is here and it's here to stay. You've read Tim Ferris, you've read Ryan Holiday and you've most definitely tried to get through The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius. Each author (and ancient emperor) has carried a poignant message of adopting an "operating system" based off of the discourse of stoicism. 

Like many before me, for the next 124 days I'll be dedicating a few moments everyday to read and write about Seneca's letter and try my best to form an analysis based on my perspective. So without further ado. 

Make yourself believe the truth of my words, - that certain moments are torn from us, that some are gently removed, and that others glide beyond our reach. The most disgraceful kind of loss, however, is that due to carelessness. Furthermore, if you will pay close heed to the problem, you will find that the largest portion of our life passes while we are doing ill, a goodly share while we are doing nothing, and the whole while we are doing that which is not to the purpose.

The human ability to waste time fascinates me. Something I am completely guilty of. But I believe Seneca would argue that it's the individual's greater ability in decision-making which will help them escape this plight. Those moments where you've taken a step back simply said, "what the hell am I doing". The key is to have more moments like that — to cultivate the ability towards purpose. 

Purpose isn't set, nor is it objectively important. The purpose that you choose on that day, week, or year is something you decide. And it is entirely up to you whether or not you stick to it. One of my biggest regrets is not obtaining native proficiency in Japanese. While in Tokyo, I mocked the other students who seemingly locked themselves in their share-houses watching anime after anime. I thought to myself, "their motivation is so skewed they'll never be able to do it". Skip ahead one year, who harnessed the language better? Not me. It goes to show you motivators may not be important, purpose may not be entirely important — but achieving the end goal is. It's not as simple as Machiavellianism but it ain't that far off. 

Time remains an incredible resource. One that will be wasted, will be passed by, and most of all — not put to purpose. But when you can, try your best to use it. As Seneca states, 

...they have received some of that precious commodity, – time!
— Seneca, Letter 1

Seneca Letter 2: On Discursiveness in Reading