Monday, September 28, 2015

Everyone Has a Philosophy of Life to Live By Whether They Know it or Not

“Life itself is but what you deem it.” - Marcus Aurelius

So it's best to be conscious of it, because otherwise it runs you instead of you running it and using it be your advantage. Call it making the unconscious conscious.

You can call it a model if you want. That's what Richard Maybury does, in his Uncle Eric Talks About Personal, Career & Financial Security, a 44-page pamphlet everyone should own. He uses it in all his books.

The thing to do is make your model conform as closely to reality as possible, because the closer to reality it is, the better your chances of success. If you think you can jump out of an airplane without a parachute and live, that is not a good model of reality.

I used to run across men who thought, "I can rip off people in drug deals and nothing will happen to me." All of them ended up murdered or in prison. Obviously, not a good model at all.

There are certain things I've learned about life.

1. If you fail, get up and keep going.

Failure is inherent in life and you cannot avoid it. Instead, use its lessons.

I've mentioned the "Little House on the Prairie" books. When she was a little girl, Laura Ingalls Wilder's father told her, "In every great loss there is a small gain."

What he said is true. If you fail at something, there is a lesson in it somewhere. Just make sure you find out what it is.

I've started businesses that failed. After they failed, I knew exactly why. I've started ones that succeeded - and I know exactly why they succeeded. But it was always after they failed or succeeded that I knew why.

2. The only thing that works is political and economic freedom.

I once ran across a man who sputtered, "I thought this was supposed to be free!" when he found he was supposed to pay $600 a month for government healthcare. I just shook my head. He was clueless.

His mind wasn't right. So, get your mind right. You can even say you can program your mind. Economic and political freedom, and learn from and work though failure.

The government is supposed to be your friend, but now is massively bloated to the point it cannot survive. These days, as Aesop wrote (along with a lot of other people), "The tyrant will always find a pretext for his tyranny." Our political and economic freedom is shrinking, shrinking, shrinking.

Once you understand exactly what the government is, and does, you can work your way around it and still be successful, still be happy.

3. Luck is the intersection of preparation and opportunity.

That's an old saying, and it's a true one, just as the old Boy Scout saying, "Be prepared" is true.

A lot of times your talents show up early.

"What's bred in the bone will come out in the flesh." More Aesop, and it's an observation thousands of years old.

I once had a girlfriend who told me when she was five she used to shinny up lightpoles and at the top wave to cars. She later became a fantastic athlete. That's not a coincidence, just the way it's not a coincidence I knew a boy who learned to play the guitar at five and later became a professional musician.

4. Learn some useful skills, no matter how minor they are.

This is related to "Be prepared."

I was once in the middle of nowhere - like a desert - with a friend when a tire went flat. I found a screw in the tread. I had a spare, but I told my friend, "Watch this." I pulled the tire off, pulled the screw, put a plug in the tire, pumped it back up, and continued on our way. Since he's known me for a long time, he never says, "That was lucky."

Yes, a minor skill, but it's come in handy more than once.

5. Cultivate gratitude.

Gratitude and envy are inversely related. You'll have a much happier life if you can feel gratitude and appreciation for all the gifts that are the result of the work of those who came before us.

6. "Be not afraid."

Have some confidence in yourself - a confidence that if you fail, you get up and try again. Bluster and a big mouth is not confidence - it's just a bunch of bluff covering up a bunch of anxiety and fear.

"Be not afraid" is right out of the New Testament, along with sayings about bad trees producing bad fruit and houses built on sand falling down when a storm came. If those sayings are about anything, it's about the models people keep in their head, the ones they run their lives by.

It's a good thing to memorize those short, pithy, true sayings and keep repeating them to yourself until they are second-nature. This is what I mean by "programming your mind."

All of these things have been covered thousands of years ago by the Four Cardinal Virtues - Prudence, Fortitude, Justice, Temperance.

Fortitude is a big one. It's not exactly confidence. More than anything else it's persistence (confidence is part of persistence), not giving up, getting up when you're knocked down.

Prudence is doing what you are good at and like, like my girlfriend shinnying up lightpoles at five. Trying to get a Ph.D. in Math or Physics when you have no talent is not prudent.

Justice is giving each his due. Someone who thinks other people should be forced by the government to pay for his healthcare is not just.

Temperance governs our appetite for pleasure. Just remember that pleasure is not well-being. Pleasure always goes up and down, but true well-being doesn't.

Governments are never prudent, just, and temperant. They certainly are persistent but almost always in a bad way.

Only people can demonstrate the Four Cardinal Virtues.

As for "programming your mind," that concept, too, is thousands of years old. Men such as the Buddha and Jesus have pointed out that you become what you think.

You can program it for good concepts, or bad ones. It's up to you.

“Our life is the creation of our mind.” - the Buddha


Mindstorm said... - count on Canadian bureaucracy to waste the taxpayer money. Hmmm, was that a decision of some fanatic of 'equality'?

Mindstorm said... - is that a result of 'personal philosophy' or something that runs deeper than that? Who would counter with "Only men can be sexist" (like "Only whites can be racist")?

Mindstorm said...

BTW, the mention of obesity in the first link is mainly due to these conditions resulting from obesity:
that together might lead to this:
and, if untreated, this: