It is one of the fundamental laws in life, that you have finite time, and using it for any particular purpose is where you will see results, not elsewhere. Let’s take an example say you work 60 hours a week at your job, but you would like to be a writer. Now that book you have wanted to write will not magically write itself, as almost every waking hour is dedicated to your work, i.e. not writing. It’s called a tradeoff, this is what life is one tradeoff after another. You spend your time doing this and you can’t do that other thing. The problem is not that we are making tradeoffs, it is often that we are focused on the wrong thing.
If you really want to work 60 hours a week on your job because you love your work then, by all means, do it, but be aware you may be giving up family, friends, hobbies, and relaxation. We have created a society where many of us can work from anywhere and we have so many tools that make this possible. I am constantly being interrupted by messages sent to my phone by various apps that I feel like I am never off the clock. To make it worse we have a global workforce, where you will often work with team members in China, Europe, India, Mexico, and the United States just to name a few. What this means is early meetings and late meetings the day is being stretched and so are we. What used to be a manageable length day now becomes a marathon.
Just remember you get what you focus on and nothing else. Make a habit from time to time to analyze what you are spending your time on and weighing it against where you want to go.
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I’m sure you have experienced that when you teach something it accelerates your own learning. Could it be the students, or the preparation studying the material, or maybe a combination of both.
Seneca also says to associate with those that make you a better person, and welcome those who you can improve. You could interpret this as associate with people you can learn from, and share your knowledge with those that can learn from you.
Maybe today we seek out opportunities to share knowledge with others; not to bolster our ego, but to give back in some way. It might be as simple as sitting with a child and talking about letters or numbers. Maybe you show someone in your family a yoga pose that will relieve back pain. The opportunities are endless, and your reward includes the enhancement of your own knowledge.
Listen I know you are busy, worried, and a bit overwhelmed, but would 10 or 15 minutes to share some knowledge with a friend or family member really be that difficult. Hell do it for yourself if you must, even if it’s just to make you feel good about helping someone.
So that’s it for today. Your challenge is to impart some useful knowledge to someone. No fucking excuses!
One might equate gain to desire and avoid to fear in this quote from Epictetus. The very fact that you desire something whether it be a position, money, or some material thing indicates something or someone else is now in control. I liken this to Buddhist teachings about cravings. Something outside of ourselves becomes our master, and suffering ensues.
Of course our master may not be revealed by craving alone. Fear can as easily result in a loss of control. What we seek to avoid may not even come to pass, but this makes it no less real in our minds.
I don’t like to dwell upon current events too much as they are often portrayed as negative, and I just don’t want to invest my limited energy in them. Put another way I don’t watch the fucking news!
With that said, please don’t let this pandemic make you so fearful that you allow it to be your master. If you seek to gain anything from this moment have it be knowledge; this will allow you to remain the master of your domain.
Stay calm, stay safe, and be nice to everyone. You may be wise and strong, but there are many others who are not, and they need reassurance that all will be well.