Starting 2020 well with Seneca top teaching from"On the Shortness of Life"

I decided to publish a few of my favourite Seneca’s quote from his book “On the Shortness of Life” to start this new year.

It is always important to remind ourselves of those things that are truly important in life. It also helps us to prioritise our daily life, our decisions every day and aim for what will add real value to us and others. So, here they are…

“Can anything be more idiotic than certain people who boast of their foresight? They keep themselves officiously preoccupied in order to improve their lives; they spend their lives in organizing their lives. They direct their purposes with an eye to a distant future. But putting things off is the biggest waste of life: it snatches away each day as it comes, and denies us the present by promising the future.”

“The greatest obstacle to living is expectancy, which hangs upon tomorrow and loses today. You are arranging what lies in Fortune’s control, and abandoning what lies in yours. What are you looking at? To what goal are you straining? The whole future lies in uncertainty: live immediately.”

“You act like mortals in all that you fear, and like immortals in all that you desire”

“But excess in any sphere is reprehensible.”

“As far as I am concerned, I know that I have lost not wealth but distractions. The body’s needs are few: it wants to be free from cold, to banish hunger and thirst with nourishment; if we long for anything more we are exerting ourselves to serve our vices, not our needs.”

“Life is long, if you know how to use it.”

“All life is a servitude.” 

In summary, there are Five Things to Consider as we start the new year:

1 – What should my focus be every day this year?

2- What should I eliminate from my life?

3 – Stop procrastinating, show up and get on with it!

4 – Work hard and smart in the present, seize the moment, and the future will look after itself.

5 – Define what is ENOUGH and live by it, one can find meaning and happiness there.

Have you all a very peaceful, blessed and successful 2020!

Motivation gets you going, self-discipline takes you all the way


“All life forms drive to the maximum of its potential except human beings”

Jim Rohn

Your motivation is a good starting point but after while you will not be able to rely on it. It might fail you. You get distracted, you get sidetracked and betrayed by your own feeling.

What drives you must turn into an automatic self-discipline system. Only motivation cannot take you all the way to the finish line. There will be days that you do not feel like doing it. In those days, only habits and self-discipline can get you to pass your feeling.

Today is Sunday, I’m on holiday, or at least I’m supposed to be, but I made a commitment to myself. I have gotten up 5:30am, I did not feel like, my mind was saying ‘f#$k that s@#t I’m going back to bed’, my commitment and self-discipline drove me here not my motivation.

We are constantly bombarded by hundreds if not thousands of different stimulus. Most of us live with the pressures of our social lives, people around us, family and friends and loved ones. Powerful branded messages from products, entertainment, useless shopping gadgets, etc. All that sensory messages play a powerful role in our feelings and emotions, ultimately in our decision making. We can get easily demotivated and sidetracked. We get pushed away from our vision and goals. Our motivation betrays us.

“Let all communication devices serve you but let no one interfere with you”

Jim Rohn

We think we can postpone, do it later, after all, just a bit of distraction will not make any difference. A bit of this, a bit of that, and suddenly the week has gone, the months and the years. I can attest to that in many areas of my life.

In reality tomorrow doesn’t exist. it is invisibly shrouded and seeded in the actions we take today. Take a close look at this, do you remember how many tomorrows have since passed and have become nothing more than of a shadowed yesterday’s memory. Today when you ponder upon, you wished you had taken a different set of action and achieved a different outcome.

Self-discipline will make you work harder on your self than on your own job. Good habits will spring you into success and fortune. That’s why most people do not achieve anything, it is easy to get sidetracked and stopped.


As Jim puts it, you must develop “The ant philosophy”. They never quit, the think winter all summer and they seem to be in a hurry. All stoics philosophers told us to plan all the negative scenarios when all is positive. The ant thinks summer is winter. They are not motivated, they are discipline to achieve their goals.

Les Brown says “do what is easy and your life will be hard, do what is hard and your life will be easy”. Self-discipline is the key to take you all the way to the finish line.

“Mors certa, vita incerta”

The Latin quote popularised by Dick’s book is one I particularly have close to my heart and thoughts every day. We never know what is out there waiting for us. Our freedom can be taken away, out lifestyle, our loved ones and even our own life. A million things can obliterate our plans and shattered our dreams. Even if some may find reasons to be boastful we must understand that we all have the sword of Damocles dangling over our heads. Whatever you think you have can be taken away.

In one of the oldest written poems known to us, ‘The Epic of Gilgamesh’ is written that “Man is snapped off like a reed in the canebrake! The comely young man, the pretty young woman— All too soon in their prime Death abducts them!”

The Stoics also had that at the heart of their philosophical thinking…

“Keep death and exile before your eyes each day, along with everything that seems terrible—by doing so, you’ll never have a base thought nor will you have excessive desire.” —EPICTETUS, ENCHIRIDION, 21

“Don’t behave as if you are destined to live forever. What’s fated hangs over you. As long as you live and while you can, become good now.” —MARCUS AURELIUS, MEDITATIONS, 4.17

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In conclusion, to do good and to be good are the only virtues that matter. We must live and celebrate the now, our present. Many of us keep postponing happiness as if that will happen one day in the future when everything will somehow work out. Gratitude today is key to happiness. Being thankful for what we have and who we have in our lives.

In the final scene of Shakespeare’s final play, The Tempest, the main character Prospero says “And thence retire me to my Milan, where / Every third thought shall be my grave.” It evokes and acknowledges death as a possibility and imminent threat. However, reflecting on our mortality should not leave us in dread, it should rather have the opposite effect. To die while you are alive is the best way to purposely live after all nobody can kill and nothing can affect a dead being. That gives us clarity and motivates us to live a full fearless and purpose-driven life.

Your philosophy determines your life outcomes

marcu aureliusThat’s because your life philosophy, or to put in layman’s term, the way you see things, your worldview and the values that underpin your choices will become the factors determining whether you will be successful in your endeavours or not.

“Human behaviour flows from three main sources: desire, emotion, and knowledge.” Plato

What Plato is saying is that what you do comes from material produced inside your mind, aka your mindset. The combination of those three factors will form your values or your philosophy, that consciously or unconsciously.  So calibrating your desires, emotions and building a solid healthy knowledge will increase your chances for better outcomes.

Jim Rohn, throughout his highly successful career as a motivational speaker and life coach, always gave emphasis to developing your life philosophy and inner values. Jim, as well as many before and after him,  developed and build their life upon their values and philosophies.

“If you work hard on your job, you make a living. If you work hard on yourself, you can make a fortune. What is the reason for this truth? Success is not something you pursue. Success is something that you attract by becoming an attractive person. The way that you become rich is not by wishing your life were easier, but instead by focusing on making yourself better.”  ― Jim Rohn, My Philosophy for Successful Living

James Allen, British philosopher and writer, famous for his inspirational writings, wrote in his book As A Man Thinketh “Men do not attract what they want, but which they are”, in other words, your outcomes are the fruit of who you are inside, of what drives you and your behaviour. All our impulses, perceptions, sensory motivations, impetus or inertia, decisions, choices, fears, etc are born and exist and are shaped by our own philosophy and creates our identity. They are determined by how we see ourselves and the world around us, our values that will guide us to whatever outcome they are set to achieve good or bad.

Most people think they are not in control of that but that is exactly the only thing in the universe we have control over.

“As long as you live, keep learning how to live.”
― Lucius Annaeus Seneca