It takes courage to eliminate the non-essential

Raphael Reiter
July 16, 2023

It takes courage to eliminate the non-essential in our lives. It takes courage to throw away a sweater that has holes in it, and it takes courage to donate these 12 pairs of jeans you’ve not worn in years.

To eliminate, often has a connotation of loss. We don’t want to lose anything, loss in painful. And so, it takes courage to eliminate what is not essential to our lives, to our joy, happiness, to our eudaimon.

But still, it is something that we must do, everyday, or we might lose it all together — indeed, if you don’t learn to face your fears and false limiting beliefs, and start eliminating non-essentials right away (starting with time and energy consuming non-essentials), you are consuming your life away.

Time is all we really have, and time is something that, even the richest man on earth cannot buy more of. Time is finite. Today might be our last day on earth, and as Marcus Aurelius points out “This task could be your last”.

Think of it that way. This task, what you are doing right now, might be the last thing you ever do. Ever.

“This task could be your last” — Marcus Aurelius

Nevermind the fact that you are what you consistently do, you are the sum of your choices and decisions. Choose what you do wisely, because the world might freeze over, and you might be remembered for your last task at hand.

I know that it seams simple to say: act wisely. Choose what you do wisely. That is so vague, and so hard to follow.

So let’s try something else:

Use courage to eliminate the non-essential, and do only what is the most important thing to do at that moment.

Remember that courage is not the absence of fear, but the ability to act in the face of fear.

Courage, comes from the word heart (cœur in french = heart).

You need to act with your heart, in the face of fear, to do what is RIGHT for you to do, and you need to do this, no matter the consequences.

This is the basics of what we learn when we study Stoic Philosophy — we act with our core, cardinal virtues (justice, temperament, wisdom and courage) no matter what situation we are in, no matter what vice we might face, and no matter the consequences and repercussions. Our minds, our conscious will always be safe when we act with virtue.

And so, to eliminate the non-essential in your life takes courage. Use that courage. Practice courage everyday by making decisions that are synchronised to your virtues and values.

Acting in the face of fear, creates strength. It creates wisdom, and it creates even more courage to continue going further on our quest to Eudaimonia.

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