Philosophy Friday: 4 Life-Changing Lessons
I find it amazing that thinkers over 2000 years ago were knowledgeable about the principles leading to a happy and meaningful life. Eastern and Western philosophers were aware that chasing after wealth, fame and power were doomed to leave us dissatisfied and even depressed.
“Judge nothing, and you will be happy.
Forgive everything, and you will be happier.
Love everything, and you will be happiest.”
– Gautama Buddha
Yet, we have mostly forgotten this most important of lessons. Our modern society pushes consumption, prestige and extreme money as the ultimate end. Say, you win at this game. What have you got? Millions of sycophantic followers but no real friends; enormous wealth and little meaning; tremendous responsibilities, yet no time and freedom. We ought to very carefully consider the destination before committing ourselves to the road.
What ideas did the philosophers think we should engage with instead? They thought these lessons were especially useful:
- Try to improve yourself – this is where you’ll discover the most significant gains.
- Give to others – Providing value is where we find meaning.
- Only worry about yourself – you don’t control the world and other people.
- Don’t work too hard – you’ll never get this time back. Life is short, and you only live once.
By no means is this a complete list. It does contain four of the most profound ideas that humanity has ever developed. Ignore at your peril.
“The goal is not to be better than the other man, but your previous self.”
– The Dalai Lama