Misquoted: Live every day as if it were your last.

I hate how that Aurelius quote is always cut off. The full quotation is, “Live every day as if it were your last: without frenzy, without apathy, without pretense.” The point isn’t that you should go party and have fun and not plan for the future, which the additional “without” clauses clarify. Aurelius meant that you should adopt an emotional state of peace and firm dedication. Because most people really would not party on their last day, if they knew. They would go about their business calmly, taking care of the most important priorities, making amends and sharing time with loved ones, ensuring that their affairs were in order and their conscience clean, and appreciating every detail of every moment as if it were infinitely precious. Nothing would upset them unduly because they would know nothing will affect them anymore soon.

Similarly, you probably wouldn’t want to wake up and go to an awful job. If doing your job makes the world a better place, you can justify going because you know you are building a legacy, even with your final moments. If you’re passionate about it, you can justify it. If the job allows you to provide for your loved ones, you would go even on your last day.

So Jobs like many others misunderstood the quote out of context but reached the conclusion Aurelius intended anyway. And that conclusion is good advice! If you’re just doing the minimum to skate by, not really thriving, you’re probably selling yourself short. Unless you have some other reason for working that gives meaning to your life (e.g. kids, funding a passion project/hobby, religion), it’s just not worth going to a shitty job just for the paycheck.