The Value of Time

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.

The majority of mortals complain bitterly of the spitefulness of Nature, because we are born for a brief span of life, because even this space that has been granted to …

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