“Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking.”
– Marcus Aurelius
Philosophers have been searching for the answer to the good life for thousands of years. Some of these philosophies turned into religions, others – forgotten.
From Greeks and Romans to Buddhists and Christians, philosophy has been an answer to living well. Give me codes to live by — morals, ethics, logic. Do this, and I will be a good person, I will have a good life.
But the answer isn’t the same for everyone. Some people need more strict systems to live by, others don’t even realize that they live by a failing system.
And there’s the real problem; most people don’t realize that they have a philosophy. Did you?
Everyone has a Philosophy
“Philosophy is not a theory but an activity.”
– Ludwig Wittgenstein
Unless you’ve taken time to wonder at your own life, you likely didn’t realize that you live by a code. Your code of conduct is also very inconsistent.
As the slow decline of religion occurs, nobody is trying to replace the emptiness with a strong personal code. Religion served a purpose, whether it was correct or not. Without the strong rules of a church, some people drift without having a clear philosophy of their own.
Three years ago I took the time to write my philosophy. My philosophy became a framework for making decisions and living well.
I came to the decision to write it based on my studies of ancient and modern philosophers. My influences include Marcus Aurelius, Tim Ferriss, Seneca, Lao-Tzu, Steven Pressfield, and dozens more!
My insatiable craving for knowledge has led me down a rabbit hole of better ideas. I read at a breakneck pace and weigh new ideas against my philosophy often.
I’m comfortable with my personal philosophy changing over time and I welcome it. What I find to be most important is knowing what my philosophy is.
Philosophy Creates Clarity
“If one does not know to which port one is sailing, no wind is favorable.”
Study philosophy far and wide until you find something that resonates with your life. Keep reading until you get that one little nugget that makes you go “Oh, shit…that makes perfect sense!”
High achievers should study Stoicism. Parents should study Buddhism. You may prefer reading on Hedonism, who knows? As long as you study and apply what suits you, you’ll be on your way to living a richer life with meaning.
My personal maxims have guided me through very difficult decisions, like fixing my marriage – that is now stronger than ever.
Am I saying that I’ve followed these “operations” all the time? Of course not! I haven’t even been consistent in following them on a daily basis in the last six months!
But having them in writing lets me refer to an ideal that I hold myself to. When something in my life seems “off” or out of balance, I refer to my philosophy. I ask myself if I’m letting things outside of my control affect me. Was I too attached to something that I recently lost? Have I been growing lately, or am I stuck in a rut of sorts?
Referring to my philosophy helps get things back on track when I get lost.
Create Your System
“I value self-discipline, but creating systems that make it next to impossible to misbehave is more reliable than self-control.”
– Tim Ferriss
Philosophies were developed to guide people toward living a good life, so why not create your own? Make your personal operating system.
Study philosophy and take what works for you. Look for things that “just make sense” and appropriate them for your own, personal philosophy. Time spent thinking is time well spent.
Put your philosophy into writing and refer to it when you have a major choice to make. Pull out your notes when you seem to be stuck. Find a way to always move forward, and move forward in the right way for you. Live a kick-ass life.
Hi! I'm Josh. I'm a father and husband before anything else, and I don't know how to stop working. I enjoy good design, tattoos, business, personal development, self-improvement, pasta, art, philosophy, and teaching people how to live to their fullest potential.
You can follow me on Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, or visit me at The Murder Tattoo Collective to get your ideas committed to your skin!