Shortness Of Life

This short essay by Seneca, a Roman philosopher who lived during the 1st century, surprisingly has a lot of advice that remains applicable today. He main argument is that nature gives us plenty of time to chase our dreams and be great, and that men who whine that life is too short are those who squander it most.

It is not that we have a short space of time, but that we waste much of it. Life is long enough, and it has been given in sufficiently generous measure to allow the accomplishment of the very greatest things if the whole of it is well invested.


No one is to be found who is willing to distribute his money, yet among how many does each of us distribute his life!


Everyone hurries his life on and suffers from a yearning for the future and a weariness of the present. But he who bestows all of his time on his own needs who plans out every day as if it were his last, neither long for nor fears the morrow. For what new pleasure is there that any hour can now bring?

He states that you should continuously reflect, be amendable to changing the course of your ship, and not give attention to that which doesn’t benefit you. The essay was a quick read with a lot of fine quotes. You can download the PDF here.

“It’s not that we have a short time to live, but that we waste a lot of it.”

Read More: “Shortness Of Life” on Amazon

8 thoughts on “Shortness Of Life”

  1. Thanks for the link. I like to read the old Greeks. But the URL is funny, apparently this website sells travel insurances? 🙂

  2. Seneca was a Romanized Spaniard and supreme hypocrite, claiming “bread and water are enough for man” while bankrupting whole provinces with his usury as one of the richest men in the empire. I guess he was Beta since he obeyed a command to slit his own wrists.
    The contextual cluelessness of this post and playmue’s comment make for a good argument for liberal arts education, pace the manosphere and first-generation Indian and Persian occupational pressures,

    1. Agree. However as an Indo-Persian myself, I have to say that we would do well to study OUR OWN classics first. My family fortunately has emphasized our culture growing up, rather than occupational obsession. Though of course we are doing well for ourselves financially too.

  3. Roosh if you are developing a taste for the ancient classics you might enjoy Herodotus (I recommend the Aubrey de Selincourt translation, how’s that for a Norman name eh) and Thucydides (try a few, e.g. by Richard Crawley). At least read Herodotus, no thinking man’s life is complete without him.
    There is also an excellent audiobook version of Herodotus, unabridged (it’s a different translation but not bad). Listen for a few minutes a day for the next few years. With a bit of habit-forming, fiddling, and small in-the-ear earphones, this is possible to do while dropping off to sleep. The only Thucydides I’ve heard so far in audiobook version is by a seriously disgusting reader unfortunately, but the full length Herodotus reader is perfect for the job. If anyone knows Kenneth Branagh, could you ask him to do an unabridged Thucydides? Thanks
    Disclaimer: I am comparing the translations not for their faithfulness to the original Greek, which I cannot understand, but merely for their effect in English. Selincourt’s Herodotus is just much more pleasant in style than anyone else’s.

    1. Epictetus is available in audiobook format.
      Before OlioOx’s historians, check out Epictetus.

      1. Good heavens no! Epictetus lived long after Herodotus and Thucydides! It must all be read in historical sequence! *puff*pant*Asperger’s tremble*

  4. when ever somebody said that life was to short, I always think to my self that Life isn’t short, its the longest thing you’ll ever do. This ‘YOLO’ garbage is the same shtick. You do only live once so be productive, create and accomplish meaningful things instead of being an asshat going to paint parties and posting shitty instagram pictures of your token tattoo.

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