The Long Way Around
The Daily Stoic for June 23rd. “The Long Way Around”.
“You could enjoy this very moment all the things you are praying to reach by taking the long way around—if you’d stop depriving yourself of them.”
—MARCUS AURELIUS, MEDITATIONS, 12.1
This is one of those stoic teachings that seem to clash with the entrepreneurial mindset. The author discusses that when asked for the ultimate goal behind your ambitions -like becoming a millionaire, getting a promotion, or getting discovered- in reality, all of us are looking for the same things: happiness, freedom, respect…
I can certainly agree with that.
Then the argument is that we are putting a lot of effort into chasing things that are simple to acquire. “So you want freedom?” That’s easy, it’s in your choices. “So you want happiness?” Easy peasy, it’s in your choices.
… Uhmmm… not so fast, pal.
The Long Way Around
While freedom, as a concept, depends only on our choices, the reality is a bit different. One important part of freedom -and one of the ones I am actively pursuing- is financial freedom. You can have all the freedom you want in your choices, but if you need to wake up every time at 6 am to work in order to pay your bills… That’s not real freedom.
Obviously, you are free to stop working, but I don’t think that’s a real option in a real scenario.
The same goes for happiness. Happiness is in our choices, what we do in life. But that doesn’t mean it’s a “short way”. That freedom and happiness come at a cost. You need to work hard to achieve them.
I think it’s ok feeling happy, fulfilled and having the freedom to do what you do. That’s all thanks to your choices. But those choices mean doing brave decisions and, sometimes, taking a long way that will get you to your goals.
I certainly fail to see it the other way around. Maybe I’m missing something here?
Today’s Daily Stoic, “The Long Way Around”, is one of those stoic teachings I can’t certainly relate to. In my mind, freedom, and happiness sometimes need brave decisions, a lot of work, and a long way ahead.