Posts Tagged ‘Seneca’

Last week I posted a piece written more than 2000 years ago about Seneca’s words of wisdom: the importance of living each day to its fullest.

Like many of you I imagine, I’d never heard of Seneca.

So when a dear friend, who read my post last week, sent me a link to a recent post about ‘Anxiety’ in which Seneca was also featured, I was kind of startled to think that so much wisdom could be found in pages written so long ago.

Seneca’s words in this piece clearly reflect  the anguish felt when anxiety grips our core and turns our lives upside down.  His advice is wise and timely.

Thank you Anna for sharing this with me.  By re-posting this piece found on Brain Pickings, I hope others will find comfort in Seneca’s words.

There are more things … likely to frighten us than there are to crush us; we suffer more often in imagination than in reality……

In his thirteenth letter, titled “On groundless fears,” Seneca writes:

There are more things … likely to frighten us than there are to crush us; we suffer more often in imagination than in reality.

With an eye to the self-defeating and wearying human habit of bracing ourselves for imaginary disaster, Seneca counsels his young friend:

What I advise you to do is, not to be unhappy before the crisis comes; since it may be that the dangers before which you paled as if they were threatening you, will never come upon you; they certainly have not yet come.

Accordingly, some things torment us more than they ought; some torment us before they ought; and some torment us when they ought not to torment us at all. We are in the habit of exaggerating, or imagining, or anticipating, sorrow……


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Life comes with no guarantees.  We just never know what’s around the corner; the challenges we may have to face; the difficult decisions that need to be made.

But one thing I have learned for sure, is the importance of living each day to its fullest.

Yes – Carpe Diem!

Just the other day, my husband shared the words of Lucius Annaeus Seneca with me.  A philosopher, who lived from c. 4 BC – AD 65, seems to have hit the nail on the head when he wrote this piece:

Continue to act thus, my dear Lucilius – set yourself free for your own sake; gather and save your time, which till lately has been forced from you, or filched away, or has merely slipped from your hands. Make yourself believe the truth of my words, – that certain moments are torn from us, that some are gently removed, and that others glide beyond our reach. The most disgraceful kind of loss, however, is that due to carelessness. Furthermore, if you will pay close heed to the problem, you will find that the largest portion of our life passes while we are doing ill, a goodly share while we are doing nothing, and the whole while we are doing that which is not to the purpose. What man can you show me who places any value on his time, who reckons the worth of each day, who understands that he is dying daily? For we are mistaken when we look forward to death; the major portion of death has already passed. Whatever years be behind us are in death’s hands. Therefore, Lucilius, do as you write me that you are doing: hold every hour in your grasp. Lay hold of to-day’s task, and you will not need to depend so much upon to-morrow’s. While we are postponing, life speeds by. Nothing, Lucilius, is ours, except time. We were entrusted by nature with the ownership of this single thing, so fleeting and slippery that anyone who will can oust us from possession. What fools these mortals be! They allow the cheapest and most useless things, which can easily be replaced, to be charged in the reckoning, after they have acquired them; but they never regard themselves as in debt when they have received some of that precious commodity, – time! And yet time is the one loan which even a grateful recipient cannot repay.”

Such a poignant and brilliant statement that quite simply tells us all to seize the day.  And if you haven’t seen Robyn William’s presentation of this concept, take just three minutes to see it.


Seize the day boys.  Make your lives extraordinary.

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