“Some things though they may be trifles compared to the sum total, and though they may be taken away without destroying the chief good, yet add somewhat to that constant cheerfulness which arises from virtue.” – Seneca
There is a dichotomy to this path. There are little luxuries in life that make life a little better, a little more enjoyable, and while we know we would be just fine without them, we also can enjoy them while they are a part of our life.
Money is an interesting part of this dichotomy. Stoic philosophy, and most philosophy in general admonishes us for being controlled or obsessed with wealth. But stoic philosophers also point out that wealth by itself, and attained honestly is not a bad thing.
So having wealth isn’t bad but we shouldn’t live our lives with the sole purpose of attaining it and once we have some we shouldn’t live our lives afraid to lose it. Like anything else we don’t control, we should be indifferent to wealth.
To continue the dichotomy, if we are far enough along the path of learning to control what we can and be indifferent to what we can not, we could also find ourselves working in just about any situation and not only would we be comfortable but would thrive and succeed because we control what we can and are unaffected by what we can not.
To tie the two dichotomies together and carry the thought out a little further, if we had a job that we really enjoyed, or we had a dream job and we also had a dream salary we could follow the following path and try to merge those two as best as possible.
We could make a list of all of the jobs we could think of that were close to or might eventually lead to our dream job. Once that list is complete, we start sending out resumes and cover letters, while also determining what salary will be necessary to leave our current job. We go on interviews, look at potential employers, negotiate, and stay persistent until we find what we are looking for. All while remaining loyal to our current employer and fulfilling our current job description to the best our abilities. Then we repeat the process until we reach our original goal.
It would likely take eighteen to thirty-six months at each step to find the right job with the right salary, maybe even longer if we are in a rural area and not willing to relocate. It would be very important to remain vigilant against complacency and a deterioration of our attitude towards our current employment during that time.
But it could be done, and it would help us along our path to becoming our best selves in several ways.
virtus fortis vocat