In life, having clear goals is like having a map. It helps us know where we are headed. This idea is not new. In fact, it comes from ancient thinkers like Marcus Aurelius, Epictetus, and Seneca, who were all about Stoic philosophy. They believed that setting the right goals is the key to a good life.
Marcus Aurelius once said,
“If you don’t have a consistent goal in life, you can’t live in a consistent way.”
This means having a clear purpose helps us stay on track.
Similarly, Epictetus advised, “First say to yourself what you would be; and then do what you have to do.” This means we should first decide what we want, and then work to get it.
“If one does not know to which port one is sailing, no wind is favourable.” - Seneca
Without a clear goal, we are lost, no matter what opportunities come our way.
So how can we use this old wisdom today?
By keeping things simple and focused. As the saying goes, “Let all your efforts be directed to something, let it keep that end in view.” This means we should aim all our actions at reaching our goals, always keeping in mind what we want to achieve.
Stoicism also teaches us to keep life simple. This means having a few important goals instead of many small ones. It's about focusing on what really matters.
Over time, small steps towards these few important goals will add up to big changes.
It’s the idea that ‘not much’ can turn into a lot if we keep at it.
Each day your actions should be towards a goal. What are you working on now?