For the past few months, I’ve been studying a lot of the ancient Stoic philosophers. The two I’ve been really into is Seneca and Marcus Aurelius.
If you’ve never heard of Stoicism or just want to learn more, check out his post here. I’ll write more about it using my own experiences derived from it. I’ll let others really explain it in full.
I will say that the beauty of Stoicism is that it frees your mind. It helps eliminates that little voice in your head that usually speaks of fear, not having enough money, not enough time, being stressed about little things, etc.
At the end of the day, nothing matters. But at the same time, everything right NOW in this moment matters. But then that time passes and then it doesn’t matter.
Make sense or are you confused yet? 😉
Here’s a excerpt from Marcus Aurelius’ writings called “Meditations: A New Translation“. It’s one that really struck a chord and one to think hard on:
“The age of Vespasian, for example. People doing the exact same things: marrying, raising children, getting sick, dying, waging war, throwing parties, doing business, farming, flattering, boasting, distrusting, plotting, hoping others will die, complaining about their own lives, falling in love, putting away money, seeking high office and power.
And that life they led is nowhere to be found.
Or the age of Trajan. The exact same things. And that life too—gone.
Survey the records of other eras. And see how many others gave their all and soon died and decomposed into the elements that formed them.
But most of all, run through the list of those you knew yourself. Those who worked in vain, who failed to do what they should have—what they should have remained fixed on and found satisfaction in.
A key point to bear in mind: The value of attentiveness varies in proportion to its object. You’re better off not giving the small things more time than they deserve.”
This excerpt definitely has many things going on, but the main piece I take away is that we shouldn’t focus on the things in life that don’t bring us passion, satisfaction, pleasure.
We’re only allotted “X” amount of time on this planet. There’s no time to deal with people, jobs, projects, and things that don’t deserve our energy.
I relate this to being very selective with the clients I work with. I have never paid for advertising for my businesses. No mass market advertising here. I’m not saying I’m proud of it, but I’ve never needed to. I’m extremely selective with whom I work with and they usually only become “accepted” as a client if they come as a recommended person from a trusted friend/colleague.
Early on, I’ve learned to say no to more potential clients and charge premium rates. I definitely don’t envy those with large client lists and churning through loads of projects each month.
The question I ask myself (and one for you to think about) is WHY should I work with this client?
Or, in other words, WHY should I choose to spend my precious time and energy on this THING?
We all have an extremely limited amount of time and energy to dedicate to folks and things on this planet. Live life to the max and give the most you can, but be selective.
Only you can decide for you. You’ll create better experiences for yourself and others and enjoy every moment of it.