“How many have laid waste to your life when you weren’t aware of what you were losing, how much was wasted in pointless grief, foolish joy, greedy desire, and social amusements – how little of your own was left to you. You realize you are dying before your time!” – Seneca, On the Brevity of Life, 3.3b
What does it mean to be successful? Often we find ourselves looking at financial success as the symbol of a life well spent. While we can disagree with this perspective, one thing is generally true about those who obtain financial success. They set a goal and said no to most anything that distracted them.
Financial success is an example that gives us a token. A reward that can be seen. But what of those intrinsic goals? Love. Happiness. Peace of mind. These are goals that are personal, that others may not directly see by your condition. What about intrinsic and external balance? Much like everyone else I have let myself suffer for the sake of another’s success. This is something different than charity or compassion. What I’m speaking to is not having the proper discipline to tell someone “no”. Not because we do not want to say “yes”, but rather because the goal we have set for our own life must be given priority.
This may be my greatest challenge, partially because I tend to overthink things. How does one know when to say “no”? Maybe the answer to that is the same as the answer to what is pornography. I know it when I see it. Or maybe it simply is a matter of knowing our priorities, and being ok with hurting someone else’s feelings. Explaining why we can’t without anger or malice. We can’t control how they’ll consume, and process, our negation but we can control how we present it.