Why Everyone Should Become a Philosopher
When I was in college, I studied engineering, physics, and mathematics. I had wanted a challenge and got it in spades. That was a big mistake. After I graduated, I spent my career in marketing.
I did enjoy taking a few classes on philosophy. I liked it so much that I considered becoming a philosopher, but it’s difficult to land a job in that field. I have yet to meet a professional philosopher.
Philosophy has been given a bad rap. It helps us become more introspective. That is a precursor to most personal change. What could be more important than trying to understand what our relationship should be to other people, our God, and our planet? What is more crucial than understanding how to live?
Ryan Holiday wrote a blog post entitled “Why You Should Study Philosophy,” which I’ve included in part below.
If philosophy is anything, it’s an answer to that question about how to live. “Would you really know what philosophy offers to humanity?” Seneca asks in his Moral Letters, “Philosophy offers counsel.” It gives us advice. It consoles us. It explains…
That’s what studying philosophy — reading and meditating on the wisdom of great minds — does. It strengthens our ability to remain steady in the chaos and rush of life. It takes the crooked, confusing, and overwhelming nature of external events and makes them orderly. And that, Epictetus said, is freedom.
Thank you, Ryan Holiday. After reading this blog and thinking about the importance of doing the right thing, we are left with one question: what is the right thing? There was no debate among early philosophers about core values, but there has been one long conversation, stretching over two thousand years, about how to live one’s life.
Frankl, an Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist and the founder of logotherapy, is only one of many who have looked at this question, “What is the meaning of life?” When life asks us that question, each of us must answer that question for ourselves. You give to your life meaning and purpose. Or if not, your life will likely be an unpleasant one.
I have an answer for you — not the answer, just an answer. For whatever reason, each of us has ten to twenty internal core values. I have shown you how to find them in my book A Fool’s Errand. It is not a big jump to realize that if these are inherent within us and closest to our hearts, then living a life consistent with them could lead to fulfillment and peace of mind. Importantly, it has worked for many. It is not theory.
Philosophy can be one more resource in helping you move from your core values to your goals and how to live your life.
In my next blog, I discuss Stoicism and its benefits yoked to core values.
This is the twenty-second blog on this subject. Each blog can stand alone or can be viewed as a comprehensive look on the why and how finding and living by your core values can change your life. Dramatically!
The process of how you can discover your core values is in chapter 2 of my book — A Fool’s Errand: Why Your Goals are Falling Short and What You Can Do About It — https://geni.us/AFoolsErrand.
 Holiday, Ryan. “Why You Should Study Philosophy: Applying the Wisdom of the Ancient Thinkers to the Everyday Problems of Modern Life.” Medium.com. June 21, 2019. https://forge.medium.com/why-you-should-study-philosophy-47c53fbc3205.