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Insightful Letter 11
August 27, 2020
How to spend your time?

Hi ,

I hope you are fine.

In this pandemic time, most people have more time to spend with themselves and with their families.

But some people find it difficult to decide what to do with extra time. 

That's why they want to work more, they want to keep themselves busy so that no dilemma appears about time.

Thus I thought to write today about some lessons of Seneca, a Roman philosopher about time.

 The Idea      

If you see a person throwing away his hard-earned money in a river, you will call him crazy.

isn't it?

But if the same person throws away his precious time in shallow activities, you perhaps wouldn't call him crazy at least.

In fact, most of us go through some phases in life where we waste a lot of our time in unnecessary and useless things.

Does that mean we put more value for money than time?

Some people perhaps think like that.

But even a child has this idea that money is limitless. There is no fixed amount about how much can you earn.

You can probably earn 100 fold more than what you are thinking now.

But is time limitless?

Time is finite right. You have a limited amount of time on earth.

Therefore, if time is so limited then how should we spend our time? 

For centuries, wise people have pondered upon this.

Seneca, a Roman philosopher was one such wise person.

According to him, time is just like money (and more valuable than money). 

No matter how much money you give to a person who doesn't have any financial knowledge, he can never accumulate wealth.

He will spend money poorly.

On the contrary, give some money to a wise person and he can bring more money with that money.

Time is also the same.

Life is not short in that sense. 

How you choose to spend your time will decide, how short or long your life will be.

Time is like a flowing river. You can not stop its flow but you can make use of the water of the river.

Some people make most of that water while some just throw that water thinking they have plenty of it.

With each passing time, you are creating memories. Some people have more good memories while some have bad.

Talk with some old people of 70 or 80 years old sometimes.

Try to know what goes on their minds.

People at the end of their life think about their life in retrospect.

They ponder on what kind of memories they have created.

Good memories lead to a good life. Bad memories lead to a bad life. 

So what is the right way to invest your time?

Pursue the truth in everything. 

Seneca believed that everything fades away except the truth.

Don't live a fake life just to impress others.

The best activities are those which are timeless.

In today's consumerist world, everyone knows what's best for you except you yourself.

Don't fall in the trap of them.

Every time you decide to spend your time on something, ask yourself a question

"Will this be relevant or of any use in the next 1 to 5 years?' 

 If not then don't waste your time.

Nobody will die for you, therefore, live a life true to yourself.

Charles Darwin understood this and hence said-

"A man who dares to waste an hour of time has not discovered the value of his life."


Book/article recommendation


On the shortness of life by Seneca

Seneca was a Roman stoic philosopher and statesman.  

You can gain great wisdom by reading and applying his knowledge on your own life. His thoughts on making most out of time are very thought-provoking. I am sure you will gain a lot after reading this book.

One video suggestion

I like this 5 minute animated video on the shortness of life. Give it a watch.

One quote

"It is not that we have a short time to live, but that we waste a lot of it. Life is long enough, and a sufficiently generous amount has been given to us for the highest achievements if it were all well invested… So it is: we are not given a short life but we make it short, and we are not ill-supplied but wasteful of it… Life is long if you know how to use it."




An article I wrote about becoming an expert learner and different psychological steps of the learning process.

December 15 , 2019
The Art of Becoming A Buoyant Learner

Read the full article

If you have anything to say or ask, just reply to this mail. I will respond.

Until next week,


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Jayabrata Das

IIT Bombay, Powai, Mumbai

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