Today’s Daily Stoic, “Cowardice as a design problem”.
“Life without a design is erratic. As soon as one is in place, principles become necessary. I think you’ll concede that nothing is more shameful than uncertain and wavering conduct, and beating a cowardly retreat. This will happen in all our affairs unless we remove the faults that seize and detain our spirits, preventing them from pushing forward and making an all-out effort.”
—SENECA, MORAL LETTERS, 95.46
I would like to affirm that I am an extremely organized person, that I don’t go anywhere without a plan. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. Perhaps my Spanish heritage plays an important role here.
Not that I am a chaotic person. On the contrary, when you are a micropreneur, the owner of your company, and the only one in charge of your business, you need a tidy and methodical approach to both your work and your life.
What’s Your Plan?
Nonetheless, I honestly don’t think I’d be able to lead my life according to a carefully crafted plan either. I am not like that, and I don’t think I will ever be. However, life has shown me that it’s important to know what you don’t want in life to leave space for what you really want.
That doesn’t mean having a detailed sequence of steps to follow, but it implies, at least, knowing the general direction your life should take.
Cowardice as a design problem
What do you want to do in life? How do you see yourself in 5, 10, 20 years time? Where do you want to live? What do you want to work on?
And most importantly… Are your actions today taking you into that direction?
These questions may look like taken from the “HR Interview for dummies” book. However, I think it’s important to know the answers.
Of course, your answers today may be completely different from the ones five years ago, and could be different from the ones you may answer in five years.
Nonetheless, we need to have a general direction for our lives. We need to be brave enough to pursue our dreams and take the bold decisions that will take us there.
In my view, that’s what Seneca means here when he talks about “cowardice”. If we don’t really have a clear goal in mind, it’s easy to retreat when things get hard.
When you have something to fight for, when you know what makes you happy, you are willing to do sacrifices to get or stay there.
It has taken me a lot of time to get to know the answers to those questions. I have wasted a lot of time until I realized I was able to be the owner of my life.
I now live the life I want. It’s not always easy, but it’s always rewarding. I am a happy person. I don’t know if my answers will vary in five years, but today, my actions are taking me to the place I want to be.
Today’s Daily Stoic, “Cowardice as a design problem”, talks about having a plan in life. I don’t think that implies a precisely defined sequence of steps to take, and I wouldn’t like to conduct my life as a To-Do list either.
However, I do think it’s important to know where you are, where you want to be, and if your actions are taking you there. We need to ask ourselves what we really want in life, and take the necessary steps to be happy and become the owners of our time.
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