Daily Stoic | Living Occam’s Razor

Philosophers will say Occam’s Razor is a terrible argument because it denies so many premises that are outright complicated. But in general, ‘Occam’s Razor‘ is important when dealing with day to day problems.

Entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessitatem

This translates ‘More things should not be used than necessary‘. Or the simplest explanation is likely the truth. And a Stoic needs simplicity in his life, because trying to explain an event by mixing in too many concepts could be bewildering and a Stoic should not dwell on bewilderment.

“If someone asks you how to write your name, would you bark out each letter? And if they get angry, would you then return the anger? Wouldn’t you rather gently spell out each letter for them? So then, remember in life that your duties are the sum of individual acts. Pay attention to each of these as you do your duty . . . just methodically complete your task.”

— MARCUS AURELIUS

I have wanted to fix my life up for so long with the following goals:

  1. Getting fit & healthy
  2. Becoming better at managing my finances
  3. Be more organized in all my endeavors

So what did I do?

  1. I began looking up exercise regimens and I wrote them down and aimed to do them at particular points in the day.
  2. I read on special diet programs that will assist in my weight loss, and I made a shopping list of what I would be buying and eating.
  3. I downloaded a finance app that would track my finances for me.
  4. I wrote down everything I did in a journal so that I could see my progress.

And what happened?

  1. I couldn’t do my workouts because of so many unforeseen circumstances that would take up my time.
  2. I always passed up opportunities to buy the right food because I would think about how much it would cost to buy ingredients when I could just buy pre made meals.
  3. I was overwhelmed by tracking each-and-every purchase, and I realized how mentally consuming it was to list down every little thing I bought.
  4. I made a spreadsheet that would organize my finances, but I ended up stressing over how the functions worked instead of the actual content.
  5. I have no idea what to write down in my journal.

In my pursuit of my goals, I ended up doing things that weren’t necessary and ultimately I accomplished nothing.

in life that your duties are the sum of individual acts. Pay attention to each of these as you do your duty . . . just methodically complete your task

Just complete the tasks. That’s all that goals ask from me, no complicated checklists, no unnecessary doo-dads, just complete the task.

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