Philosophies That Can Help You with Your Life's Work

“There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”

Hamlet didn’t think much of his friend’s rational approach to things. According to Hamlet, there are things the human mind can’t comprehend. While he enjoyed philosophy as well, he didn’t think it was applicable to his family issues.

But you probably remember that Horatio is the only one who survived the play. So he had to be on to something, right?

Philosophy can help you find your way in life. While a lot of it is difficult to get into, anyone can benefit from reading philosophy. There are online resources that can help you get started.

Let’s look into some significant philosophies you may want to try out.

[Read more: Taking Command of Your Mind]

  1. Go Back to the Classics

Ancient Greece is a good place to start if you’re aiming for self-improvement. Once you get a good grasp on the ancients, you’ll find it much easier to navigate modern philosophy as well.

So which Greek philosophers can inspire you to do well in life?

  • Socrates: Be Brave, Avoid Ignorance

Where does malice come from? Socrates blamed bad deeds on a lack of knowledge. Those who do bad things simply don’t understand the reality of their choices.

Hence, becoming better informed can help you a great deal. Seek out alternative viewpoints and don’t dismiss new knowledge out of hand. When it comes to making an important decision, take the time to learn about all of your options.

Once you put in enough work, it will be much easier to stick to your convictions. Know what you stand for and challenge others when they try to obscure the truth. Socrates was ready to die for his right to speak and act according to his conscience rather than the will of others. [1]

  • Pythagoras: When in Doubt, Stay Silent

Have you ever heard of the Bios Pythagorikos? This simply means the Pythagorean way of life.

Pythagoras was probably the first person to ever call himself a philosopher. Many of his teachings remained a secret, and he liked it that way. He never wrote anything down.

We do know that his followers lived a very healthy life. They avoided meat and kept a very healthy diet. Additionally, they had a strict exercise regime and they avoided owning too much property. Some psychologists [2] have found that this is a good approach to solving everyday problems.

There is another important part of his philosophy. His disciples were to stay silent whenever they were unsure of something. Breaking this rule was punishable by death. [3]

While that is a little extreme, keeping quiet can spare you a lot of trouble. Think things over, get the information you need first. When you speak, do it with certainty.

  • Epicurus: Don’t Worry, Be Happy

Epicurus was controversial in his day. While many philosophers believed that abstaining from pleasure is the key to virtue, Epicurus had a simpler approach to things.

According to him, the most important thing in life is to be happy. He believed that people tend to invent reasons to be miserable. Hence, the best thing you can do is use every moment of your life for happiness.

There are a few practical limitations to his approach, but prioritizing happiness is important for all of us. You should definitely stop and ask yourself what is keeping you from being happy. Taking an active role in becoming happy will change your outlook significantly.

[Read more: I Am Dying, and So Are You]

  1. Find Your Freedom with Sartre

Existentialism assumes that there is no higher power guiding your life. Everything you do is your responsibility and there is nothing standing in the way of your freedom.

Sartre’s philosophy may sound bleak at first. But when you think about it, you’ll discover that it is an excellent motivator. There is nothing stopping you from achieving your goals.

If you follow Sartre, you will become considerably more resilient. Public opinion won’t sway you. After all, the only thing that matters is your own conscience.

This doesn’t mean letting go of moral behavior. You simply start by being accountable to yourself. Once you reframe things with that in mind, you’ll stop second-guessing yourself and everything will seem much clearer.

Of course, you may need some time to switch to an existentialist way of thinking. From early childhood, we are all expected to obey certain authority figures. Unlearning that can be difficult, both emotionally and intellectually.

But once you succeed, you will enjoy being your own boss and respecting your own needs and decisions.

  1. Discover Your Nietzsche

Like Sartre, Nietzsche believed you should find your own path without relying on higher powers.

He valued individuality as well. According to Nietzsche, it is important to understand a variety of different perspectives. Good judgment can happen only after you have considered different viewpoints and recognized the difference between them.

Honesty was extremely important to him. Nonetheless, he acknowledged the importance of illusions and he had a great deal of respect for art. Whether you create art or enjoy it, you can find solace in it when truth becomes overwhelming [4].

Nietzsche’s ideas of eternal recurrence [5] are fascinating as well. He considered the infinity of the universe and concluded that everything we do will get repeated infinite times in the future.

Do you like the way your life is? Would you be willing to experience it over and over and over again? Thinking about eternal recurrence might be the jolt you need to start making some important changes.

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A Final Word

Which philosophy lies closest to you?

Learning from great philosophers is a lengthy process. You can return to the same text and discover new ways of approaching things. Additionally, life may change your approach to certain branches of philosophy.

You may discover helpful new life motto. Or you’ll find something you vehemently disagree with, which will make things a lot clearer.

Remember that your goal isn’t to find a single way to live your life and stick to it no matter what. Instead, you should use philosophy as a means of self-reflection. This will bring you a lot of success and contentment as time goes by.

 


Hi! We’re Team Neuro, aficionados of all things brain-related, from creativity to working out. With backgrounds in art, science, and athletics, we love delving into all the potentials of the human body.


We also created the world's first sugar-free nootropic caffeine gum that utilizes the effects of caffeine and L-theanine, made to help you optimize your mind — anywhere, anytime. Find out more here.


[1] https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/business-learn-from-ancient-philosophers

[2] https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/how-plato-can-save-your-life/201105/the-ancient-greek-cure-depression-and-anxiety

[3] https://www.philosophybasics.com/philosophers_pythagoras.html

[4] https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/nietzsche/#ArtArti

[5] https://www.thoughtco.com/nietzsches-idea-of-the-eternal-recurrence-2670659

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