brɛvɪti – noun
1. Concise and exact use of words in writing or speech.
(Concision, succinctness, economy of language, shortness, briefness, pithiness, incisiveness, crispness, compactness, compression.)
2. Shortness of time.
(Transience, transitoriness, ephemerality, impermanence; e.g. “the brevity of human life.”)
As we process through life, there is ever more we have seen; and a good deal more we have done. It’s easy to forget how much.
Indeed there’s good evidence that’s why older people struggle to remember things – not necessarily cognitive decline; just more to sift through in the back catalogue of the mind.
Still, looking at someone’s CV the other day, I was in sympathy with Marcus Aurelius’ advice:
Don’t be a person of too many words and too many deeds….
The encapsulation of anything – and certainly a person’s CV – should be readily achievable in no more than two pages.
And reflecting on life with perhaps my finest friend this week, Marcus Aurelius’s fuller advice is also well put:
“Don’t act grudgingly, selfishly, without due diligence, or to be a contrarian. Don’t overdress your thought in fine language. Don’t be a person of too many words and too many deeds…. Be cheerful, not wanting outside help or the relief others might bring. A person needs to stand on their own, not be propped up.” —MARCUS AURELIUS, MEDITATIONS, 3.5