If we could be satisfied with anything, we should have been satisfied long ago; nor do we reflect how pleasant it is to demand nothing, how noble it is to be contented and not to be dependent upon Fortune….Fix a limit which you will not even desire to pass, should you have the power. At last, then, away with all these treacherous goods! They look better to those who hope for them than to those who have attained them.
– Seneca 15
How many of us intuitively know that money and material goods are not what make us happy?
We’ve all heard stories of people on their death bed wishing they had spent more time with loved ones instead of chasing things. At the same time, though, it can seem like a Herculean task to overcome the addiction to more stuff. Ancient wisdom like Stoicism and Ecclesiastes show people have always known riches do not make them happy, yet they continue to toil after them anyways.
Let us not fall into that trap. Let’s follow Seneca’s advice.
Set a limit for yourself.
We should strive for success in whatever field we are in and not be complacent, however, this is where the limit comes in. You need a target that once achieved is a marker to say to yourself “now, if I am not happy I must stop my journey and figure out what really has to change.” This target could be a point in your career, an amount of money, or the acquisition of a thing. But, once you reach it you must stop yourself from looking for the next promotion, raise, or object to make you happy and simply BE.
What’s your limit?