Letters To Seneca – Letter 9

Dear Seneca,

In previous letters, I’ve stated multiple times that I would like to change. Maybe I didn’t explicitly say the word “change”, but implicitly it’s easy to see the intent. During a conversation with my wife yesterday I made an interesting observation.

Many of my thoughts are targeted toward an interest in increasing my ability to be content in my life. Only sometimes seeking the next topic to research or project to work on. But… This project I’m embarking on to improve or “change” my ability to be content is in itself a form of ambition. This seems counterintuitive to the entire pursuit.

I’ve fallen into the same routine, but it’s in disguise this time.

My question is, does that matter? Even though I’m following the same routine of progress, ambition, and change, the benefits could out way the costs. If I succeed in updating my system to intake more daily philosophy and my contentment increases, then I’ve “achieved” the goal. There goes the ambition mindset again. 🤦

One element of contentment that I’d like to learn more about is acceptance. Accepting who and where I am today. Instead of wrapping my mind into knots thinking about the above, I would instead accept my current state of being. The assumption is that my ability to “change” from strictly ambitious to content will happen, but from a place of curiosity, exploration, and expansion.

There’s a subtle difference between my current approach and the acceptance approach. In my current approach there are small internal conversations I observe that point out the flaws in my personality, making a list of things to “change”. With the acceptance approach, I’m ideally kinder to myself internally, allowing my curiosity to explore different philosophical topics, which expands my understanding ending in “change”.

Of the two approaches, the acceptance-centric approach seems to make the transformation journey more pleasant. That is what we’ll aim for.