Daily Touch of Inspirations
August 19th: Corralling the unnecessary
Ryan Holiday, The 366 Meditations on Wisdom, Perseverance, and the Art of Living
It is said that if you would have peace of mind, busy yourself a little. But wouldn't a better saying be do what you must and as required of a rational being created for public life? For this brings not only the peace of mind of doing few things, but the greater peace of doing them well. Since the vast majority of our words and actions are unnecessary, corralling them will create an abundance of leisure and tranquility. As a result, we shouldn't forget at each moment to ask, is this one of the unnecessary things? But we must corral not only unnecessary actions but unnecessary thoughts , too, so needless acts don't tag along after them. — Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, 4.24
The Stoics were not monks. They didn't retreat to the sanctuary of a monastery or a temple. They were politicians, businessmen, soldiers, artists. They practiced their philosophy amid they busyness of life — just as you are attempting to do.
The key to accomplishing that is to ruthlessly expunge the inessential from our lives. What vanity obligates us to do, what greed signs us up for, what ill discipline adds to our plate, what a lack of courage prevents us from saying no to. All of this we must cut, cut, cut.