The Daily Stoic for July 16th. “Progress Of The Soul”.
“To what service is my soul committed? Constantly ask yourself this and thoroughly examine yourself by seeing how you relate to that part called the ruling principle. Whose soul do I have now? Do I have that of a child, a youth . . . a tyrant, a pet, or a wild animal?”
—MARCUS AURELIUS, MEDITATIONS, 5.11
Thanks to the recommendation of a good friend, yesterday, I started reading “How to be everything“, by Emilie Wapnick. The book is targeted towards people who just don’t feel comfortable being defined by a single occupation or goal in life. I immediately fell in love with the book, as it describes how I’ve been feeling my entire life:
“It’s subtle, but we can translate What do you want to be when you grow up? to: You are allowed one identity in this life, so which is it? How terrifying is that? When phrased that way, it’s no wonder the question stresses us out.”
Reading these lines was a relief for me. I have talked before about how difficult is for me to say “no” to new things. My shiny object syndrome. Then, today’s stoic struck me as somewhat hidebound and restricted to old-fashioned principles.
“To what are you committed? What cause, what mission, what purpose? What are you doing? And more important, why are you doing it?”
Progress Of The Soul
So it’s true that right now I am committed to some important things: my partner, my business, that’s growing, reaching financial independence and keeping my freedom and my nomadic lifestyle… While I write them, I realize it’s a lot of stuff.
And more importantly, as Emilie Wapnick’s book discusses, it’s perfectly possible that those goals will change tomorrow, for me anyways. I’ve never been the kind of person who needs to have one “supreme goal” in life, and my “whys” have changed throughout my entire life.
So I find it ridiculous to look for what my “duty calls me to do in life”. I’ve never been like that, so this stoic excerpt, unfortunately, didn’t resonate with me at all. I understand the importance of focusing on one thing at a time… But now I know now not all of us are able to do it easily.
Today’s Daily Stoic, “Progress Of The Soul”, didn’t resonate a lot with me. Why? After starting reading “How to be everything”, I realized I’m not made for a grand, unique duty in life.