Most of what we say and do is not essential,” Marcus Aurelius reminds us. “If you can eliminate it, you’ll have more time, and more tranquility. Ask yourself at every moment, ‘Is this necessary?'”
The correction you were going to make of your co-worker. The new car you were going to shop for this weekend. The news story a friend just forwarded. Is it necessary? Do you need it? Is it making you happier? Or is it adding to your stress?
These are the questions to ask yourself, every day, every moment. Because the truth is that most of what we covet, most of what we unthinkingly react to or accept isn’t making our lives better. On the contrary, it’s the reason our lives aren’t better.
So remember Marcus’s advice: “If you seek tranquillity, do less.”
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