The book that completely changed the way I approach my life and career

  • The majority of people spend most of their week working and looking forward to free time outside work hours. 
  • However, it is important that the time we invest in our professional lives is also rewarding and enjoyable. 
  • In order to maximize our time in life, we should ensure that each pursuit we engage with— from business to leisure — brings happiness and fulfillment. 

One of the biggest mysteries in modern day life is something that we’re all guilty of.

Please answer me this: Why do we work 8–9 hours a day so that we can earn free time, while we endlessly waste that hard-earned free time?

Have you ever looked at it this way? It’s an absurd way of living. And yet, everyone with a traditional job lives that way.

I remember the moment I realized that vividly. It was about three years ago. At the time, I worked at an IT Research firm in London while working on my own business in the evenings and weekends.

I was sitting on the train to home after a day at the office. And I was reading “On The Shortness Of Life” by Seneca. That book is famous for causing a shift in thinking for a lot of people.

I’ve met (and read about) many people who say that Seneca had an impact on the way they live. I don’t know why, but the simplicity and directness of Seneca’s writing hits you hard.

So I was just sitting there on the train like the millions of other folks who commute daily in London. It sounds like I’m setting the scene of a cheesy drama movie about an alcoholic who decides to better their life.

Believe me, my situation wasn’t that dramatic. It was just an ordinary day. A day that you forget you ever had because it’s similar to the day before … And the day before that. Do you know that feeling? Sometimes life feels like an endless deja vu.

But this specific section from On The Shortness Of Life made me think:

“It is not that we have a short time to live, but that we waste a lot of it. Life is long enough, and a sufficiently generous amount has been given to us for the highest achievements if it were all well invested.”

I thought about how I invested my time: About two and a half hours on the train each day, working a job I wasn’t passionate about and spending my free time drinking in the pub with coworkers, watching TV shows or gossiping at work.

We all work hard to earn two things: Money and free time that we can spend on leisure activities. Sounds pretty normal, right? But the s—– part is that we end up wasting that time on bull—- activities. Seneca continues to talk about time:

“But when it is wasted in heedless luxury and spent on no good activity, we are forced at last by death’s final constraint to realize that it has passed away before we knew it was passing. So it is: we are not given a short life but we make it short, and we are not ill-supplied but wasteful of it … Life is long if you know how to use it.”

Read more at Business Insider.