Most busy people put great value on their finances and success, but very little on their own time. Ironically, the more successful we become, the more demands are made on our time and attention, a result that not only diminishes our productivity but is the root cause of stress and exhaustion. Like so many issues that confront us even in our technological age, this tension has existed for millennia. Lucius Annaeus Seneca — a Stoic writer and philosopher but also a man of action who was one of the wealthiest and most powerful politicians in the court of the Emperor Nero — offers his thoughts on the subject in one of antiquity’s great essays.
Excerpted and adapted from De Brevitate Vitae, tr. John W. Basore, 1932.
Lucius Annaeus Seneca was a Roman philosopher, dramatist, and statesman.