“It is said that if you would have peace of mind, busy yourself with 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 action but unnecessary thoughts, too, so needless acts don’t tag along after them.MARCUS AURELIUS, MEDITATIONS, 4.24
Stoic philosophers lived normal lives, doing normal everyday things, just like you. They didn’t have all day to sit around thinking — they had jobs and tasks that needed doing, just like we all do.
Life has to move on, doesn’t it? We can’t sit around discussing all the time, we have to take action. The day must progress. And the last thing anyone has time for is wasting energy on unnecessary actions and unnecessary actions. We have to cut the noise and focus on what’s important. That’s the wisdom in today’s entry of The Daily Stoic.
Identify those actions and thoughts that are unnecessary noise — and eliminate them. Cut them right out of your day. It will free up time in your schedule and space in your brain, which can be filled instead with tranquility and calmness that leads to peace (doesn’t that sound nice?).
Examine the source of your thoughts. Examine what makes you feel like you need to take action in a way that may not be necessary. Are they baser things like greed, pride, addiction, fear? That’s your answer right there. The source reveals them. Cut the noise!