24 July 2024

The Habits of the Highly Effective Greek Philosophers

I am reading a new book. “ Greek Philosophy, Thales to Aristotle” by Reginald E Allen;

It dawned on me suddenly. Are all these gurus and manuals bombarding us daily with top-notch solutions on the secrets to a successful life simply copying the ancient philosophers? What more are they providing than a basic regurgitation of ideas expressed thousands of years ago?

Inspired by the notion of bridging modern well-being guidance with ancient wisdom, here are some of the top Ancient Greek Quotes that highlight the profound mindfulness and wisdom of the ancients.

Timeless Advice for Successful Living by the Ancient Philosophers

Heraclitus of Ephesus on Resilience and Agility 

No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man. There is nothing permanent except change.

Sounds familiar? Be resilient to change, accept it and move forward is a lesson I learned in my mid 30s when I experienced radical changes in my life; the expat journey being one of them.

More on Heraclitus here https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/heraclitus/

Pythagoras on Expertise, Reflection and Going with the Flow

Famous for his magic triangle taught in trigonometry, Pythagoras also shared extremely useful advice about life.

Do not talk a  little on many subjects but a lot on a few. We spend our lives trying to become superficial connoisseurs of everything instead of deepening our knowledge on the things that we are interested in. We tend to be afraid of people who are better than us in some fields instead of learning how to work in a team of experts and how delegate to the the best fit the right tasks. Driven by our insecurities we tend to become control freaks and knowledge deficient.

If you are asked what is the silence you can say it is the first stone of the wisdom’s temple.

My grandmother used to tell me, “dip your tongue in your brain, before you speak” and she was damn right. There have been  so many occasions in my life that I wish I’d stayed silent. We live in a world of different perceptions and values. Silent leaders are being constantly underestimated and characterized as weak in a world where being loud competitive and arrogant  seems to be the golden ticket to success. I have been raising two silent leaders, who think a lot before they speak, who never interrupt or raise their hands in class if they have nothing constructive to say. They are not loud but they are strong, wise, and peaceful. Maybe living in  a world characterized by  so much noise , violence and turbulence,  we are more in need of silent leading figures who reflect and think before they act.

More on Pythagoras of Samos here Biography of Pythagoras

Plato on Intelligence  

Wise men speak because they have something to say; fools because they have to say something 

Just take a look on today’s social media, TikTok, instagram, Snapchat etc. Why are we spending so much time on trying to figure out what to say just to make sure we are there, present and most importantly seen and accepted?

More on Plato here Plato’s life and work 

Socrates on Progress and Empathy 

“We cannot live better than in seeking to be better”

“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle.”

We are so absorbed by our own problems and everyday challenges that we forget that we are all on the same ship more or less, just fighting with different storms.

More on Socrates here https://www.worldhistory.org/socrates/

Aristotle on Effort

We can’t learn without pain

Experience is a hard lesson to learn but of great importance. A child needs to fall in order to stand up again, we need to fail in order to succeed, we need to cry before we laugh.

More on Aristotle here https://www.politicalsciencenotes.com/aristotle/aristotle-life-works-and-his-place-in-history/859

Democritus  on Self Control 

“It is hard to fight desire but to control it is the sign of a reasonable man.” 

“The most difficult thing in life is to know yourself” 

More on Democritus here https://www.famousscientists.org/democritus/

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