"Life isn't a matter of milestones, but of moments."
Each moment is a milestone of your life: it is the furthest moment you have ever lived.
Did you feel that? That was the sound your mind being blown. (Haha.) No, but really, life is a series of moments strung together.
I want you to let that sink in for a moment. (Lucky pun right there.)
Let’s say you want these moments to be as awesome as possible and so you decide to spend some (or many) of your moments working hard so you can enjoy future moments filled with abundance. If you were to do this, I would give you my seal of approval and full support.
The problem, though, is it’s easy to get caught up chasing future moments so much that you end up missing all the current moments that are available free of charge. And when that happens, that’s a bloody shame, and is totally not necessary.
Two of the primary schools of ancient Greek philosophy were the Stoics and the Epicureans. In a way, they are in contrast to each other in their ideals. The Epicureans believed that one should pursue pleasure because tomorrow may never come. The Epicureans believed that the path to happiness is found in the pleasures of sex, companionship, acceptance, shelter, nourishment from food and water, and love. Epicureans believed one should withdrawal from public life to reside with close, like-minded individuals.
On the other hand, the Stoics believed that happiness was derived from within an individual and not from externals such as pleasure. The Stoics believed in self-preservation and that virtue and wisdom are the paths to satisfaction. They also believed that humans possess the spirit to help his fellow man, and so all men should engage in civic duty.
If I had to choose from the two, I would identify myself more as a Stoic than an Epicurean. That said, I do believe in the fundamental tenants of the Epicureans, although maybe not exactly in their ideas of how one should live. As with all things in life, the best is found somewhere in the middle. Because of this, I take what works for me from both the Stoics and the Epicureans.
So, what does ancient Greek philosophy have to do with moments? Well, it has everything to do with them. Let me explain: Each moment gives you the chance to pursue pleasure or practice restraint. And neither is the answer, while, at the same time, both are the answer. Yes, it can be a paradox.
The answer to this paradox is balance. Pleasure and restraint should be embraced at the right time, in the right dose, and for the right reasons. This might seem like an easy answer, but it is the answer. What’s not easy about this answer is the doing of it; we are notoriously terrible at restraining ourselves one way or another. We prefer to be “all or nothing” about things because it simplifies life and reduces the amount of choices we have to make. Unfortunately, all or nothing rarely works for any extended period of time.
Life and everything in it is a balance. Balance is the root of everything sustainable and good. Always seek balance.
There’s one more point I want to make about moments. This point is based on research that states that most people in life spend only about 12% of their time doing things they enjoy.
Think about that for a second. It is only 12% of the time that most people are enjoying their moments.
That means that if one lives to be 100 years old, she would have only spent 12 years of her life enjoying what she did. That’s sad. Forget that. That hardly seems like a balance.
The reason this statistic is so overwhelmingly skewed to things we don’t enjoy is because of one thing: money. It’s so often we trade time doing things we don’t like for the money and resources we need to pay our bills and maintain our lifestyle. That’s why 88% of the time most people aren’t doing what they enjoy. If that’s not motivation enough to find work you love then I don’t know what is.
You need to find work you love.
I didn’t want to spend a bunch of time trying on this point as I’ve said it many (many) times before. So, I’ll just say it again: You must find work you love.
If your life is a series of moments, and most people only get to enjoy 12% of these moments, then finding work you enjoy should be the most important thing in your life. Finding work you love will give you more moments to enjoy. It will destroy the idea of “work life balance,” and it will provide for a more fulfilling existence.
To find work you love, first you must find what you love. Then pursue ways to make money within that realm. Instead of trying to get a promotion, make more money, or get a degree because you’ll get a “high-paying job,” scrap all that and focus on how you like to spend your moments. Then build the way you make money around those moments.
At first, you may not know how to turn these moments into an income, but if you keep at it, you’ll figure it out. When you do, you’ll get to spend a much greater percent of your time alive doing things you enjoy. This is supremely important stuff here.
It’s time we stop glorifying dollars and cents and instead glorify purpose and passion. Seek purpose and passion, not cash. Seek to balance your better moments over polarizing to blind pleasure or restraint. Enjoy each moment fully.
If you are “stuck” because of bills and lifestyle, cut back. You’d be amazed what you can live without while still being happy. And if worse comes worst, file for bankruptcy and start over or move out of the country. Yes: I completely recommend this if it means you’ll live a better life. What is more tragic than spending years and years doing shit you don’t love so you pay for things you don’t need? To me, this is murder; you are killing yourself. Don’t let fear keep you from living the life you want. Fear of credit, debt collectors, what your friends and family will think, blablablablala. Forget all that. Do what you need to do to live the life you want and don’t fucking apologize for it.