“The unexamined life is not worth living,” – Socrates
“Know thyself” – Socrates, Pythagoras, Chilon of Sparta
There are two ways to live life. The first is to be continually affected by the ebbs, flows, storms and tides, and to allow oneself to be at the mercy of wherever the storm takes you. This is a life without evaluation of the present, past, or future. It’s just about surviving moment by moment without learning.
The second way is to be continually aware of the events around you, and to be continually asking yourself how it affects you, how it changes you. It’s being conscious of what you allow to shape you and imprint your mind. It’s to continually evaluate yourself under a microscope so you are aware of who you are, where you are going in life, and what’s happening to—and around—you.
The second path is harder. You must remain conscious of things some people would rather hide away. When somebody walks this path, he or she immediately approaches shortcomings, fears, and anxieties head-on. There is no room to mask bad habits and problems with drapes.
When you live this lifestyle consistently, you find your perceptions and intelligence rapidly grow. You gain the power to handle tough situations. You become a better leader. You become more successful. You start to have more fun, because as you untwist the knots in your head you realize you can think more clearly, and it’s easier to enjoy things.
So how do you get started?
To be aware of yourself is the obvious first step, but I believe there’s one subject in particular that you should begin immediate repair work on: the psychic effect certain experiences and events impose on you.
An argument, a problem, a misgiving that you blame yourself for, a traumatic experience… These incidents rarely come and go, rather they leave a lingering, negative effect on your psyche. Unfortunately, negative experiences often shape and coax our personalities. According to me, a major concept of self-development is to remain aware of yourself as your personality shapes and changes, and to be vigilant against negative influences which could ‘hijack’ your mind and fill your heart with bitterness.
The stronger you build your personal framework, your understanding of yourself, and forgiveness of yourself and others, the easier it becomes to deal with these negative experiences and to prevent them from damaging your mental health.
There are many experiences in life which will try to ‘knock you off your horse’. Despite your hardest efforts, there are certain people who will just never like you, or never give you approval. There are people you love and care about who will die right in front you. People you care about will suddenly reject you.
The real challenge of life is coping with these incidents and growing stronger, with greater values and ethics, instead of becoming weakened or frail. You cannot allow bad habits to ingrain themselves into you. You do this by staying aware of yourself, and to have the inner power to realize that most negative impressions are created by our own minds. Take back the reigns, make sure that you control your thoughts and emotions, and they don’t control you. The fruits of these practices is that you will develop more as a natural leader, you will have greater success in all areas, and you will have a revitalized sense of self confidence.
Now go out, enjoy life, and get out of your own head-space. You need to make experiences happen if you want to begin refining and enhancing yourself. And this will never happen by staying at home and reading blogs.
And keep an open mind wiy fresh eyes to seek greater meaning in all of your experiences. Everything has a chance to be amazing–whether you’re buying a soggy sandwich at Arbys or accepting an Academy Award.