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On Living the Quiet Life
Living the quiet life is not shutting out the noise completely. Living the quiet life is turning down the volume. Being picky about what you let in and what you keep out. Selecting where to focus your energy. Understanding what is good for your soul and what destroys it.
Living the quiet life is not spending time alone for its own sake. Living the quiet life is employing solitude to work on yourself. To understand what makes you tick, what values you hold, where your passions lie. To gain a better sense of yourself as a human being, unconstrained by societal pressures or narratives.
Living the quiet life is not limiting your hobbies or passions. Living the quiet life is pursuing them with intention. Engaging with them to the fullest. This means you won’t get to do everything you want. The rock star isn’t also the world-class mountain climber.
Living the quiet life is not simply speaking less. Living the quiet life is speaking less because you’re listening more. Through listening you learn. Through learning you grow.
Living the quiet life is not always staying home. Living the quiet life includes exploring the world. Seeing its majesty. Putting yourself in new places and opening new perspectives. Sitting home by the fire with a book in hand is a wonderful thing. But it is not the only thing.
Living the quiet life is not ignoring others. Living the quiet life is choosing who you spend your time with. Which relationships you keep and which ones you discard. Your relationships are like your passions — you must be choosy, pursuing only the ones which bring you value.
Living the quiet life is not doing less. Living the quiet life is avoiding distraction. Distraction is the layman’s utopia. It is heroin coursing through your veins, pleasure built not on profundity but self-indulgence. Distraction gets in the way of the real work being done.
Living the quiet life is not about aimless self-restraint. Living the quiet life is embracing discipline. “Discipline is freedom,” as Jocko Willink points out. Discipline brings structure and design to your life. It provides a model for you to do your best work. In the way distraction gets in the way of work, discipline enables work.
Living the quiet life is not reducing stress and anxiety. Living the quiet life is eliminating the opportunity for stress and anxiety. What is the need for them to exist?
Living the quiet life is not avoiding emotions. Living the quiet life is keeping your emotions in check. Emotions are like oxygen, you need them to survive. They are a distinct characteristic of being human. They bring color and light and laughter to the world. To shun emotion is to shun what it means to be human. But favor measured responses above all else.
Living the quiet life is not living a “quiet” life. Living the quiet life is a framework for living well.