If You Seek Tranquillity, Do Less


In his Meditations, Marcus Aurelius writes:

If you seek tranquillity, do less. Most of what we say and do is not essential. If you can eliminate it, you’ll have more time, and more tranquillity. Ask yourself at every moment, “Is this necessary?”

This is a good question to ask ourselves at every moment, especially when we’re being pulled this way and that, and struggling from overwhelm in our work and daily life.

When we ask ourselves “Is this necessary?” we’ll invariably find ourselves answering that it is not, or at least, that it doesn’t have to happen now, or it can be batched to take place at another time, or it can be delegated to someone else.

If you seek tranquility, do less. Do what’s essential, and do it now. ∎


Benjamin Spall is the founding editor of the online magazine My Morning Routine, and the co-author of a book of the same name. He has written for outlets including the New York Times, the New York Observer, Quartz, Entrepreneur, Business Insider, and more.

Subscribe to keep up to date with my latest posts (one email per week):