A recent article on Motivated Mastery made me think about Stoicism and its relation to meaningful living. I don't remember where I originally started learning about Stoicism but I know I was immediately interested by its focus on identifying what you have control over and not wasting time or energy on what you don't have control over. To a certain extent, that's why I was interested in and wrote about minimalism for so long. When you start challenging yourself to live with less and only work on meaningful projects and act in ways that align with your values you begin to realize there are only certain things over which you have control. Most importantly, what you always have control over is how you reach to any kind of information or stimulus.
One of my side projects is the website Getting History Done. Over there I share some of my favorite quotes from autobiographies and biographies. There's a whole section from my favorite Stoic philosopher, Epictetus.
"Every habit and faculty is maintained and increased by the corresponding actions: the habit of walking by walking, the habit of running by running. If you would be a good reader, read; if a writer, write. But when you shall not have read for thirty days in succession, but have done something else, you will know the consequence. In the same way, if you shall have lain down ten days, get up and attempt to make a long walk, and you will see how your legs are weakened. Generally then if you would make anything a habit, do it; if you would not make it a habit, do not do it, but accustom yourself to do something else in place of it."
Pretty simple. Pretty clear, eh?