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Seneca: See each day as a single life

If you're familiar with letting days go by unused and being frustrated in the evening at not having done or undertaken more, here's a crucial trick.

It may seem like some kind of truism to you, but the point is that you, as well as the vast majority of people, probably don't take this trick to heart.

I'm talking about looking at each day of your life as a single life. One of the most famous proponents of this philosophy was the Stoic Seneca (if you are new to the Stoics, here is an article for the relevant overview):

“Think of each day as a single life.”

Lucius Annaeus Seneca

When we look at each day in this way, each decision takes on significantly more meaning.

If your life consists of 24 hours and not, say, 80 years, then you'll think very carefully about wasting your time on Instagram or otherwise.

As usual, I don't want to raise an admonishing finger here or portray myself as something better (my time tracking app doesn't even allow that).
But I want to tell you that since I started looking at my days this way, I've managed to do so much more, to accomplish so much more. Simply to live more life.

I want to be able to look back on the day and say I both enjoyed it and made the most of it.

Sometimes this works better and sometimes worse. But the trend is very positive throughout. I notice this in the fact that my projects are progressing at a remarkable pace and my mental well-being is very good.

By the way, there are other quotes that advise us to take this approach. Another example is the following:

"Every morning we are reborn. What we do today counts the most."


Each of us knows that our time is limited. But usually, in everyday life, this certainty is usually far away or even completely banished from our thoughts.

As you can see, the problem in the very least cases is that we don't know how things work or how we can make our lives better, but there is simply a lack of motivation and ultimately action. The treated quote, or better said, the two treated quotes, offer exactly this motivation and make it relatively easy to become active.

I recommend you to try to make every decision in this context for the next three days. In addition, I recommend that you spend a few minutes each evening reflecting on how your day went:

  • did you act according to your convictions?
  • do you feel you have set wrong priorities (if yes: why and what could you do better tomorrow)?
  • what that you did today are you proud of (no matter how small it may be)?

The following quote from Seneca comes to mind, about which Luke wrote a specific article: "Every night, before we go to sleep, we must ask ourselves: what weakness have I overcome today? What virtue have I acquired?"

Marcus Aurelius probably wrote his famous meditations in the morning, while Seneca seems to have preferred the evening. Handle it as it suits you better. The main thing is that you do it.

So if you make your decisions as if today were a lifetime, and you spend a few minutes each day reflecting on the day you've had, you'll be well positioned for a more fulfilling life.

"Whoever can say every night, "I have lived",
to whom every morning brings a new gain."

Briefly pinned. Never forgotten again 🙂

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