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9 Seneca Quotes That Might Be the Lift You Need

9 Seneca Quotes That Might Be the Lift You Need

The ancient Stoics were some of the best thinkers and philosophers of their time. They poured their hearts and minds into critically thinking about the world we live in, and how to best take part in it. Thankfully so, because much of their wisdom is just as applicable today as it was centuries & centuries ago. Seneca is one of the staples in the Stoicism world. Though he died a tragic and disputed death, his legend lives on through the words that he spoke. Here’s nine Seneca quotes that might be the lift you need.

“Begin at once to live, and count each separate day as a separate life.”

The ancient interpretation of YOLO (You Only Live Once). Imagine your life compacted into a single day. That day is today. What do you want to do with it? Adventure? Love? Fun? Tomorrow isn’t guaranteed for any of us, so there’s no point in waiting around for it. Lets start living today.

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“As is a tale, so is life: not how long it is but how good it is that matters.”

When we think of our lives in the terms of story, it helps us write a book worth reading. And in this story we have the opportunity to be the hero. The good guy, not the villain. We can’t rewrite any of the chapters that we’ve already written, but we can rewrite the ending.

“A man is as miserable as he thinks he is.”

The power of the mind is one of the most under appreciated aspects of human happiness. Beyond providing for our basic needs – shelter, food & safety – happiness is a choice. We get to wake up every single day and decide if we’re going to be happy or not. When we choose not to be happy, we’re letting outside factors dictate our emotions. Choose happiness.

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“You must live for another if you wish to live for yourself.”

Ghandi. Mandela. Mother Theresa. None ever said “I wish I would have spent more of my time living for myself.” The act of giving back is an indirect way of giving to ourselves. We become the true recipients of living for others, and it’s a win-win for everyone. When it comes to the what we offer the world, think from 2nd place.

“If you judge, investigate.”

As the scripture goes, “Why worry about a speck in someone else’s eye when you have a log in your own.” If we want to judge, let’s judge ourselves. We all have our faults. We all have our weaknesses. Let’s not pretend anyone else’s are worse than our own.

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“A gem cannot be polished without friction, nor a man perfected without trials.”

The only way to learn that a stove is really hot is by burning ourselves on it. The only way to learn how to avoid failure is to have failed many times before. When we find ourselves at the bottom, we teach ourselves how to climb out. Trials and friction don’t just help us along they way – they are the only way.

“Wherever there is a human being, there is an opportunity for kindness.”

Everyone is fighting their own battle, much like we are fighting our own. When life makes it easy to snap, or to judge, or to get angry, just remember that we do not know where the other person stands in their life currently. Approach them with kindness and we just might change their day.

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“It is not the man who has too little, but the man who craves more, that is poor.”

There will always be a nicer car. A bigger house. A fancier vacation. When we continue to strive for that next best thing, we can never be happy with what’s right in front of us. Being thankful is the cornerstone of happiness. Love what you have, and you’ll never need a thing more.

I don’t consider myself bald. I’m just taller than my hair.”

Even the Stoics knew how to crack a joke and not take themselves too seriously. At the end of the day, we’re a tiny speck on the time lapse of history. We might as well have a little fun while we’re here. Life becomes much easier when we get comfortable with the fact that no one is perfect. When we do that, we realize that in our imperfections, we are perfectly ourselves.

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The Gentle Art of Saying No

The Gentle Art of Saying No

No!

It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

  1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
  2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
  3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
  4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
  5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
  6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
  7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
  8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
  9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
  10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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