Aren’t you ashamed to reserve for yourself only the remnants of your life and to dedicate to wisdom only that time can’t be directed to business?
— Seneca, On The Brevity Of Life, 3.5b
“I’m so busy! But it is better to be busy than bored!”
Hang around me long enough and you’ll eventually hear me say this. It is like a catch phrase. And, to a certain extent, I think there is some truth to it: I would rather have too much interesting stuff to do than not enough. I honestly don’t remember the last time I was actually bored.
However, I started to introspect this earlier this year. Sure, I’m busy. Everyone is busy. It is a chronic problem in America. Can I stop being busy? Am I busy with the right things? Also, if people are so busy, how do we find so much time for Netflix, Youtube, Facebook, and so on? Most people delegate their reading activities to be occasional, or a few minutes before bed when their brains are already tired, but this is backwards. We should make time for the important things, and that includes time to “dedicate to wisdom.”
Stop being busy, and stop making excuses. Take a look at where you spend your time, and be intentional about dropping things that do not add value and maximizing time on the things that do. In particular, make time for thinking about the biggest questions in life so that you are always working towards some answers.
Nourishment of your mind and soul are not second to anything else. Focusing on them will pay dividends into everything you do.
Some parting thoughts on this concept:
- Reserve for yourself the lion’s share. Tend your own garden, and then give the rest of your time graciously to those people and things deserving of it. The remnants are for things that don’t matter, not the other way around.
- Everyone has time to study philosophy. Maybe its a podcast while you are in the shower, a Youtube video on the toilet, a book before bed time, or an hour every weekend. The time is there, you just need to make use of it.