Whilst reading one of my many blogs this last week, I followed a link to a link to a link to a link and ended up on a dissertation on Socrates. (I love blogs!)
Socrates is considered one of the chief founders of Western philosophy. We know Socrates primarily from the accounts of other writers: from his student, Plato, from Xenophon, the historian, as well as from the plays of Aristophanes. It's fascinating reading if you look at it from the standpoint of the time in human history and the sometimes brilliant perceptions of the man on the "human condition".
Through Plato's writing (primarily) we've come to comprehend the depth of Socrates' wisdom. In reading through the article, I was touched by several "life lessons" based on the teachings of Socrates. Socrates said, "I cannot teach anybody anything; I can only make them think." This article was written to make you think. He said, "Education is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel." A wise man, that Socrates.
Must Read Life Lessons From Socrates:
1. Be Content
"He who is not contented with what he has, would not be contented with what he would like to have."
The truth is, having a beautiful home and a gorgeous car will not make you content. Contentedness is birth from the inside, it's a decision, it's your choice. I perceive this as saying that "things" will never make you happy, happiness is a choice.
2. Faithful are the wounds of a friend
"Think not those faithful who praise all thy words and actions; but those who kindly reprove thy faults."
There is something in the Scripture says, "Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful." I think that means that a true friend will reprove your faults; they will tell you when you are "out of line." Be wary of friends, who only say kind words. A true friend will tell you the truth, and often the truth hurts. Socrates said, "Do not be angry with me if I tell you the truth."
"Employ your time in improving yourself by other men's writings so that you shall gain easily what others have labored hard for."
With the Kindle, the IPAD, the internet, etc....it's SO easy to get material to read now. Do you realize that you can read a book in a few hours and learn what it took someone twenty years to learn? You can literally pick someone's brain for $19.95 or less! Learn to cultivate the joy of reading, and you will gain with ease what others have sweated for.
4. Be by Doing
"To do is to be."
As the quote goes, "Be the change, you want to see." Don't just talk about it, be the example, be the leader. Socrates said, "Let him that would move the world, first move himself." If you can move yourself, than you will easily move others.
5. Gaining a Good Reputation
"The way to gain a good reputation is to endeavor to be what you desire to appear."
Solomon said, "A good name is better than rubies." And the way to gain a good name is to be how you want to be perceived. Be, in the dark, the way you want to be perceived in the light. If you can master that, you will never need to worry about your reputation. Socrates said, "It is not living that matters, but living rightly." It's not always easy, is it?
6. Avoid False Words
"False words are not only evil in themselves, but they infect the soul with evil."
Labor for accuracy in your speech! Don't stretch the truth, don't bend the truth, only speak the truth. Exaggerations infect the soul! You can be just as truthful and accurate in your speech as the most honest men who have ever walked the earth. Again, it's not always easy, but it is a choice you CAN make!
7. Beware of a Busy Life
"Beware the barrenness of a busy life."
If you don't take anything else away from this article, please remember a question you should ask yourself everyday:
The question is, "What am I accomplishing?"
Never get lost in the "busy-ness" of life, avoid all of the distractions and attractions.
Examine your life. Socrates said, "The unexamined life is not worth living."
So ask yourself daily, ... not: "What am I doing," but, "What am I accomplishing?"
What I believe Socrates was saying is that if you do this, you will begin to awaken to what may be your true potential, you will begin to become who you really are.
Ultimately, that's something we all strive for every day, isn't it?
Thank you for reading.