The Daily Stoic for December 22nd, “Stake Your Own Claim”.
“For it’s disgraceful for an old person, or one in sight of old age, to have only the knowledge carried in their notebooks. Zeno said this . . . what do you say? Cleanthes said that . . . what do you say? How long will you be compelled by the claims of another? Take charge and stake your own claim—something posterity will carry in its notebook.”—SENECA, MORAL LETTERS, 33.7
Curiously enough, in an age where’s it’s easier than ever to create something and share your ideas, thoughts and creativity with the rest of the world, it’s amazing how difficult it’s to find people with something original to say.
Stake Your Own Claim
I’ve discussed before how when I was in bands (in my boyhood), and later in my own project, Bosques de mi Mente, I hated making covers. In my view, every minute you spend covering someone else’s music, filming the remake of another movie, or downright copying SEO-friendly articles, is a minute of your life you could have created something new. Something amazing. Something uniquely yours.
You may be right, or wrong. Your work can probably be an amalgam of your influences, especially at the beginning. But anything that you create based on your own experiences has more value than one thousand quotes with pretty background images.
One of the things I miss most is my piano. For me, playing was a way of relieving stress when I came back home, exhausted and frustrated from work. Composing was like breathing back then.
Since I became a digital nomad, I have found a similar addiction to writing. The more I write, the more I enjoy writing. And I think it’s like a drug for me. Putting something out there that I have created has its own therapeutical value. It works with words as well as it worked with music.
Today’s Daily Stoic, “Stake Your Own Claim”, asks us to stop living through the dogmas of others, quoting and referencing their words, lives or work. Instead, be yourself, create something that’s yours, don’t follow anyone else’s path but yours.