Examine men’s ruling principles, even those of the wise, what kind of things they avoid, and what kind they pursue.

Examine men’s ruling principles, even those of the wise, what kind of things they avoid, and what kind they pursue.Marcus Aurelius

examine discuss

Examine their principles, values and motives. You will eventually have that discussion. Sooner or later.

What does that mean?
To me, this is about choosing friends, acquaintances and associates. It asks who they are, and by extension, if they are the kind of people you want to be around.

What are the forces, the values and principles which guide them? In some particular situation, how will they respond and what will they do? Consider what they like to do and what they try not to do.

The implied question in the quote is “are they right for you?” Will they be the kind of person with whom you wish to be associated? Will they give you the help and advice you need, or are their aims different from yours?

Why is it important to examine others? Continue reading

If you desire to make a difference in the world, you must be different from the world.

If you desire to make a difference in the world, you must be different from the world.Elaine S. Dalton

different

Yes, one is different. But why? What are they trying to do, how are they trying to change things?

What does that mean?
How much change will happen if everyone is the same? If everyone thinks the same, acts the same, and no one is different, how can change happen at all?

That is the underlying question of question posed by the quote. If everyone is the same, how will the world change, or even know that change is possible or desirable?

It is stated in the positive, stating that if you want to change to occur, you will have to be different from the others, that they might see you and be influenced.

To influence the world to change, you have to show it a new or better way. The same goes for smaller groups, such as friends, family, and those around you.

Why is being different important? Continue reading

Every step you take, is a step away from where you used to be.

Every step you take, is a step away from where you used to be.Brian Chargualaf

step

We all take steps, and move from where we were, but do you have a direction, a destination?

What does that mean?
Each day, we move. We take steps, we evolve, we change, we learn. Each of those steps changes us in some small way. Each step makes us a little different than we were before.

But different from what? What we used to be. Because we are now different. Usually in a small way, but sometimes in ways that are more profound or drastic than others can imagine.

What we become is largely dependent on how we respond to these changes. We can take them in a positive direction and grow from them, or we can be devastated by them. It is our choice, our life. Choose with wisdom.

Why is noticing the step you take important? Continue reading

Money is human happiness in the abstract.

Money is human happiness in the abstract.Schopenhauer

happiness

Concrete, real happiness is as close as your friends. They’ve been friends for at least 6 years.

What does that mean?
The longer version of the quote (included at the bottom of the post) goes on to state that once one can no longer be happy, in concrete form, the person will focus solely on money.

Happiness comes to humans in many forms. A pleasant day, a warm smile from a friend, or the scent of your favorite food hanging in the air.

Money can buy one of those three examples. But when you no longer care about the weather, have alienated all your friends, and can no longer truly enjoy food, art or music, to what do you turn?

Money is the abstract form of happiness, in that when you have enough money, you can buy many things to make you happy. But focusing on the money, and not the happiness all around us, can be problematic.

Why is concrete happiness important? Continue reading

Learning without thought is labor lost; thought without learning is perilous.

Learning without thought is labor lost; thought without learning is perilous.Confucius

Learning and Thought

I thought about, and then took apart a few clocks before I learned enough to put them back together.

What does that mean?
This quote is about the synergy between knowledge and ideas of how to do things. Learning brings knowledge. Thought brings ideas of how to do things.

Knowledge of how to do something without actually giving any consideration to how to accomplish this is an investment of time in pure knowledge. In the quote’s time period, few could afford to waste their time.

Entertaining ideas of how to do something without any idea how to actually do it is a recipe for disaster, especially if one acts on those uneducated impulses. Read a book on mountaineering? Nah, let’s just climb it!

But together, and in balance, learning and thought give us a great way by which we can get things done. And that allows us to get it done with little wasted time or danger to self or others.

Why are both learning and thought important? Continue reading