"It is not that we have a short space of time, but that we waste much of it. Life is long enough, and it has been given in sufficiently generous measure to allow the accomplishment of the very greatest things if the whole of it is well invested. But when it is squandered in luxury and carelessness when it is devoted to no good end, forced at last by the ultimate necessity we perceive that it has passed away before we were aware that it was passing." Seneca.
Seneca's words are a poignant reminder of what we intuitively know but fail to put into practice.
It is often said that if you want something doing, ask a busy person, even though this idea is somewhat paradoxical. Why is it that someone with lots to do can take on more, yet someone with just two or three things to get done in a day might not get around to doing any of them?
The answer is that the busy person uses their time wisely, they know how much they are capable of doing, and they plan accordingly. They also know when to say no. If they know they can't take on any more they will say so, they won't say yes and then let you down at a later date. These people are the sort who always meet deadlines, and to do what they say they are going to do. They are also the ones who are more likely to be successful. Using their time in a meaningful way, rather than squandering it, enables them to achieve more, and lead more meaningful lives. Others will squander their time watching television, daydreaming, and waiting for opportunities to find them instead of going out and looking for them.
"So it is - the life we receive is, not short, but we make it so, nor do we have any lack of it, but are wasteful of it. Just as great and princely wealth is scattered in a moment when it comes into the hands of a bad owner, while wealth however limited, if it is entrusted to a good guardian, increases by use, so our life is amply long for him who orders it properly."
George Bernard Shaw adds, "Life isn't about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself." It is about being the best person you can be. I think now about what I want to achieve in life, then I think 'what can I do now to make it happen?' Then, instead of relaxing with a bottle of wine on an evening, I will write, or cook, or tidy, or do something that will help me achieve what I want to do. The more I get done and the more I achieve the happier I am.
As Marcus Aurelius said, "Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking."
We need to think what sort of life we should life as a natural human being free of all the consumerism and greed of society today.
“Nin knew how much humans loved money, riches, and material things—though he never really could understand why. The more technologically advanced the human species got, the more isolated they seemed to become, at the same time. It was alarming, how humans could spend entire lifetimes engaged in all kinds of activities, without getting any closer to knowing who they really were, inside.” Jess C. Scott, The Other Side of Life.
We shouldn't waste time on unnecessary things.
“A key point to bear in mind: The value of attentiveness varies in proportion to its object. You’re better off not giving the small things more time than they deserve.” — Marcus Aurelius, Meditations.