The Good Things Are Obvious

“Here’s a way to think about what the masses regard as being ‘good’ things. If you would first start by setting your mind upon things that are unquestionably good — wisdom, self-control, justice, courage — with this preconception you’ll no longer be able to listen to the popular refrain that there are too many good things to experience in a lifetime.”


There’s a popular saying: so many [whatevers], so little time. It’s usually said in jest, but the idea is that you have too many great options and choices, and not enough time to experience them all.

Sometimes it can feel like that with life — that we know we are supposed to do something good and valuable with our life, but there are so many possibilities that it feels overwhelming. Which one should we choose? Should we work to save the environment, or should we try to help the children, or should we focus on ourselves and our physical and mental health? Is it better to fulfill our career aspirations, or to forge a stronger connection with our children? So many choices, argh!

Marcus makes it much simpler for us, in his quote above from The Daily Stoic. He basically says that the truly good things are obvious, and if you just start with those, then you won’t have to agonize like this. Good things come from within and don’t need clever deciphering, they’re just clear the moment you look at them.

Set aside what society and all your colleagues and friends say you should do, and just focus on those things that are ‘unquestionably good’ — the things that nobody can argue with. Start with those obvious goods, and the rest will melt away. Problem solved. You were born for this.

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