This week’s Wednesday Wisdom is a fabulous passage from a book I am reading right now, titled The Daily Stoic: 366 Meditations on Wisdom, Perseverance, and the Art of Living by Ryan Holiday and Stephen Hanselman, which, as the title implies, offers 366 days of Stoic insights and exercises from the ancient greats such as Emperor Marcus Aurelius, playwright Seneca and many more. The book is full of short powerful, inspirational quotes with interesting commentary and anecdotes, geared to help the reader find serenity, self-knowledge, and resilience required to live well.
This particular passage grabbed my attention because it seemed so very appropriate for the times we live in.
“One of the most powerful things you can do as a human being in our hyperconnected, 24/7 media world is say: ‘I don’t know.’ Or, more provocatively: ‘I don’t care.’
Most of society seems to have taken it as a commandment that one must know about every single current event, watch every episode of every critically acclaimed television series, follow the news religiously, and present themselves to others as an informed and worldly individual.
But where is the evidence that this is actually necessary? Is the obligation enforced by the police? Or is it that you’re afraid of seeming silly at a dinner party? Yes, you owe it to your country and your family to know generally about events that may directly affect them, but that’s about all.
How much more time, energy, and pure brainpower would you have available if you drastically cut your media consumption? How much more rested and present would you feel if you were no longer excited and outraged by every scandal, breaking story, and potential crisis (many of which never come to pass anyway)?”
The takeaway is: You don’t have to stay on top of everything
We all need make time to do what really matters. Rather than try and keep up with all that’s happening around us, why not practice saying “I don’t know” or even, “I don’t care”?
Think about this question:
How much more time, energy, and pure brainpower would you have available if you drastically cut your media consumption?”
With that in mind, start by tracking how you spend your time—maybe for a week.
Think about how much of your time you can take back.
Think about how you can use that time mindfully.
Practice saying I don’t know, I don’t care.
Perhaps ancient wisdom appears somewhat archaic and not always suitable for current times—but that is not true. After all, as I enjoy repeating, we stand on the shoulders of giants and if their philosophies helped them rise to great heights, there’s no reason why this wisdom should not help just about anyone who is focused and determined to accomplish her goals. Ask any successful CEO or present-day luminaries who’ve done a great deal to influence the course of the world.
“Make time for yourself…stop letting yourself be pulled in all directions.” Marcus Aurelius
Wednesday Wisdom is a series with short bursts of easy-to-consume wisdom in the form of stories, quotes, anecdotes, and humor.