No one knows how long they have to live, but sadly, we can be sure of one thing: we’ll waste far too much of life. Waste it sitting around, waste it chasing the wrong things, waste it by refusing to take the time to ask ourselves what’s actually important to us. Far too often, we’re like the overconfident academics that Petrarch criticized in his classic essay on ignorance — the types who “fritter away their powers incessantly in caring for things outside of them and seek themselves there.” Yet they have no idea this is what they’re doing.
So today, if you find yourself rushed or uttering the words “I just don’t have enough time,” stop and take a second. Is this actually true? Or have you just committed to a lot of unnecessary things? Are you actually being efficient, or have you assumed a great deal of waste into your life? The average American spends something like forty hours a year in traffic. That’s months over the course of a life. And for “traffic,” you can substitute so many activities — from fighting with others to watching television to daydreaming.
Your life is plenty long — just use it properly.
Stoic philosophy is really fascinating and practical. Ryan Holiday does an awesome job in bringing it to surface.