Seneca: On the Shortness of Life Book Summary

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On the Shortness of Life: Life Is Long if You Know How to Use It by by Seneca


Seneca – On The Shortness of Life.


Top 11 things to avoid in order to lengthen our lives according to Seneca:


  1. Self-Imposed Servitude to thankless people or unrewarding employers or professions.
  2. Placing too much importance on success and power.
  3. Tiresome devotion to tasks that are worthless/useless.
  4. Seeking escape through drugs and alcohol.
  5. Paralysed by procrastination and laziness.
  6. Ambition that is dependent upon the opinion of others.
  7. Paying too much without weighing the cost.
  8. Giving freely of your time yet wasteful with your money.
  9. Being caught up in useless conflicts.
  10. Having no fixed aim or goal or principle by which to direct your course.
  11. Allowing indecisiveness to constantly plunge you into dissatisfaction and plans that are ever new




“It’s not that we have a short space of time, but that we waste most of it. Life is long enough. The part that we live is really small. all the rest of existence is not life but merely time.”


“Among the worst I count are those who have time for nothing but alcohol and lust; for none have more shameful engrossments.”


“Everybody agrees that no one pursuit can be successfully followed by a man who is occupied with many things — eloquence cannot exist nor can expansive studying, since the mind, when its interests are divided, takes in nothing very deeply, but rejects everything that is, as it were, crammed into it. There is nothing the busy man is less occupied with than living: there is nothing that is harder to learn.”


“Life is long enough, and has been given in sufficient quantity to allow the accomplishment of the very greatest things if the whole of it is well invested. But when it is squandered in luxury and carelessness, when it is devoted to no good end, forced at last by the ultimate necessity,, towards the end we have perceived that it has passed away before we were aware that it was passing.”


“Just as great and princely wealth is scattered in a moment when it comes into the hands of a reckless owner, while wealth however limited. if it is entrusted to a good guardian, increases by use, so our life is amply long for the person who uses it wisely.”


“Those who forget the past, neglect the present, and fear for the future have a life that is very brief and troubled; when they have reached the end of it, the unhappy perceive too late that for such a long while they have been occupied in doing nothing.”



“Look at those whose prosperity men wish to have; they are already blessed with much and do not realize. to many, being rich is a burden. How many of the rich struggle to show their power! How many successful people are surrounded and offered no freedom!”


“Men who do not suffer threats are quick to prepare for war over the slightest preconceived danger. Yet they allow others to trespass upon their life without any barriers, they themselves even lead in those who will eventually posses their time.”


“The life of the Philosopher, therefore, has a wide range and he is not confined by the same limits that shut others in. He alone is freed from the limitations of the human race; all ages serve him as if a god. Has some time passed by? This he embraces by recollection. Is time present? This he uses. Is it still to come? This he anticipates. He makes his life long by combining all times into one.”


“It takes the whole of life to learn how to live, and perhaps, what will make you wonder more, it takes the whole of life to learn how to die.”


“Even though you seize it, it will still flee; therefore, you must compete with time’s swiftness in the speed of using it, and, from it, like a torrent that rushes by and will not always flow, you musty drink quickly.”



“The present offers only one day at a time, and each by minutes, but all of the days of past will appear when you call them, you can behold them and keep them at your will, a thing which those who are engrossed have no time to do.”


“The mind that is untroubled and tranquil has the power to roam into all parts of life, but the mind of the engrossed cannot turn, if there and look behind. And so their life vanishes into an abyss, just as is does no matter how much water you pour into a vessel, if there is no bottom to receive and hold it.”


Shout out to quotebanq.com for doing this written summary

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