While at work the other day I heard someone jokingly speak the old adage “do as I say, not as I do.” What a cop-out of a phrase. What an easy way to allow a person to espouse “wisdom” and knowledge without holding themselves to the same standards. Philosophers tend to have a bad reputation for just sitting around and thinking. That thought immediately reminded me of some of my stoic learning. We can talk all about what is good, right and just, but if we aren’t able to live those ideas what have we really accomplished?
Far too often we know how to do something, but aren’t truly aware of what entails said thing. Knowing how to change a tire is helpful, yet being aware of what goes into a tire is a bit different. I can read a manual and know what steps to take. Actually partaking in the action will make me aware of the nuances that go along with the process.
So, what do we do? You build your own philosophy, the philosophy of you, and you adhere to those rules as if they were laws. Laws that if broken you’d be jailed or punished to death. Now, I understand this sounds a little harsh, but with this discipline, you now hold all of your receipts. When someone comes and attempts to hold you accountable to what you say should be done, you are a living embodiment of that idea. The adage should be “Do as I say and do because they are one and the same.”
Next time you’re feeling that you might waiver off of your philosophical path keep these three great quotes at the forefront of your mind.
Everything I believe in a few simple words.
The beauty of these words is that they capture everything I love about the idea of living your philosophy in a concise format. I can have all the knowledge in the world, but what am I doing with it if I never apply the knowledge? With the application of knowledge comes a deeper knowing. This is where you become aware of the nuances, where you fill in the gaps of your knowledge. Without application you only have half of the recipe.
Hoping to do something is never enough, you have to actually do the things you hope to get done. This concept is so simple to understand I can’t really expand on it any more than this. If you take only one thing from this whole blog, let it be this quote.
A modern take on the same idea.
What I’ve taken from this is the idea that I can’t truly know my own philosophy if I don’t embody the ideas I share. It makes no sense for us to talk about living each day as if it were our last if we have no true concept of how to do that. What does it mean to live every day as our last, how does one do that with purpose, what is the outcome of doing so? We must embody our own values before we can begin to understand how to share them.
When someone utters words around 100 AD and those words live on through time, you have to know they have some value. This quote serves as a reminder of two things. I shouldn’t worry myself with explaining to everyone what I believe. Chances are they have their own thoughts that weigh heavy on their mind. Explaining to them how I choose to live my life is most likely of little importance to them. Better yet, what if I simply choose to live my philosophy instead of speaking about it. Anyone truly interested in hearing my philosophy will ask. Outside of that, maybe I’ll do better to just live it.
Live your philosophy; embody what you believe, in an unwavering manner.