In this series of blog posts I attempt to translate the Moral letters to Lucilius by Seneca into modern English.
Letter 6. Know yourself to improve yourself
Being able to identify and work on areas of personal improvement is important. Of course, there will always be something to enhance, it’s an ongoing life-long project. Share the areas that you’re working on with friends, especially those who experience similar issues. This will benefit not only them but you. It helps them as it they learn from your knowledge efforts, and in turn you can learn from their wisdom and struggles. This, in some ways, is more important that trying to improve alone.
Finally, remember that even though you may have deficiencies that you want to correct, you should accept who you are, acknowledge your efforts and avoid excessive self-criticism. If you do this then you’ll feel happier about yourself. This in turn means that you’ll be more forgiving of others too.
Read the original text here.
I recommend you read all of the most influential Letters in this new Penguin Classic book. It is the best translation, in my opinion, because it captures Seneca’s humour and style. It is also the easiest to read. My copy is full of highlighted lines, margin notes and tabs. A treasure chest of profound, practical advice which you can apply immediately.
Warning: this is not an academic text; it describes a hands-on philosophy of life. Discover powerful, instantly helpful wisdom. The complete guide to a improving your day-to-day activities, thoughts and actions.