10 Philosophies of Life

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Tanisha Khandelwal

20 September 2023

6 Mins

“We are what we think. All that arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts, we make the world,” iterated Buddha.

Although everyone wants a wholesome and successful life, it’s not easy. One needs to imbibe certain philosophies in their lives to attain contentment. These mantras have helped me in comprehending the art of self-love and attain the highest potential so that I can be the best version of myself.

Here are the minimalistic philosophies each one of us can and should abide by in their lives in order to lead a jovial and high-yielding life:

1. Optimism

Optimism implies imbibing a positive outlook in your approach toward the present and the future. It’s the hopefulness and confidence that one does not let go of, even in challenging situations. Pessimistic is the opposite which eventually turns one into an apathetic. The sole difference between the two is the lens one chooses to see the world through, and you, and only you have the ability and control to make that choice.

In philosophy, optimism is usually associated with Leibniz, he was the first to come up with the discussion and maintained that we live in the best of all possible worlds. Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Every day is the best day in the year”.

Having a positive outlook can change the way of living to a drastic level and keep a person mentally as well as physically, calm. There have been many surveys that conclude that an optimist is likely to live longer, have a better immune system, and 23 per cent less likely to die from heart diseases.

2. Maximize Happiness

As Aristotle put it, “Happiness depends on oneself. Happiness is the end which meets all the requirements. It is a state of mind.”

In philosophy, there are virtues that one shall follow to attain the path of happiness like friendship, kindness, prudence, and courage. This is possible only by striking a balance between the excess and deficit in one’s life. Self-care plays an important role as well - talking to yourself and understanding what makes you happy or bothers you is the key to be happy. Never attach yourself to material things as they are temporary sources of pleasure.

To create a deeper connection with oneself, one should always try to meditate to keep calm. Meditation can help to a great extent. Virtue theorists believe that if we concentrate on being righteous people, the right actions will follow. The key to happiness is the practice of virtue because virtue is in accordance with human reason.

3. Presentism

Living in the present moment is something which one must have heard quite often by various motivational speakers.

The past is dead, it’s occurrence cannot be altered; and the occurrence of the future isn’t certain. So, why take the burden of thinking about the times that have passed and that are yet to come. Always, live in the moment. Give your 100 per cent. People often think about the past and worry about the future. But the future will exist only if you live freely in the present. Don’t cross your bridges until you come to them.

In accordance with Buddhist presentism, “Everything past is unreal, everything future is unreal, everything imagined, absent, mental is unreal.” Ultimately, real is only the present moment of physical efficiency. Don’t struggle to be in the present. We overestimate what could be and underestimate what is right in front of us.

Thinking about the present will help in increasing productivity, staying calm, and aid better decision making.

4. Planning is the Key

According to Socrates, “An unplanned life isn’t worth examining”. A mechanical life with an unthinking routine, under the rules of others without examining whether or not you want to live with those routines or rules, is not worth living.

Making plans and setting goals is extremely crucial to lead a healthy life. In today’s time, when everybody is rushing to do everything at one go, things usually don’t work. It’s best to get a time limit and short, attainable term goals. This leads to better accomplishments that provide better mental health and helps to make enough time to spend with the near and dear ones.

5. Have Room for Art

Art is simply a way of doing. Looking at art boosts the level of happiness. Art may be anything from music to scenic beauty or simply spending time in nature, green valley, etc.

As much as other things are important in life, art plays a huge role. This is something that I abide by. If it’s been a bad day listening to music, writing, or just drawing can calm and soothe the mood.

6. Focus on Simplicity

Why does one need to be satisfied? Food, home, shelter, and love. It’s often said that humans can never be satisfied, but during the lockdown, I realized that it’s just these four things that matter, along with good health.

We are made to feel the need for materialistic things. But if you think the basic is all that one needs. It’s the art of simplicity which one forgets. The simpler, the better.

7. Analyzing Situations

The reasoning is what separates humans from animals. It’s always great to analyze a particular situation or note down the pros and cons of a particular decision. This boosts confidence level and leads to self-improvement and promising growth.

Reasoning with your everyday happenings can also help you in introspection about what bothers you and what doesn’t. The reasoning is improved through training and conditioning. From everything to our outlook on life, to knowledge and perhaps, especially minimizing our negative emotional responses, thus, leading a happier, healthier, and more satisfying life.

8. Trust your Intuition

Intuition is our inner voice speaking to us. The gut feeling or famously called the sixth sense. Believing oneself because we are our best critic and we know ourselves the best.

People around us - our family, friends, partners can guide us through or give their opinions but the ultimate decision shall be ours. In simpler words, if you have got a good vibe about something, just go ahead without seeking anyone else’s validation.

When self-awareness in the mind is applied to one's self, the outcome is a luminous, self-manifesting identity; the reason also converts itself into the form of the self-luminous intuitional knowledge.

9. Acceptance

Acceptance can be practiced in all spheres of life. It just means that one is making space for change in their life and going with the flow. Acceptance doesn’t mean that things will stay the same forever because everything is flux and so is acceptance.

It doesn’t mean that we have settled for that particular thing, but rather made space for it and eventually change the course of what happened. It doesn’t come easily to everyone and can involve dealing with a range of things, including work, relationships, emotions, or the past. It can work only if practiced with consistency. Acceptance is a process that shall go on.

Whatever it is that we are accepting in these realms implies us, embracing the fact that we can't change the current nature of this exact moment, therefore, doing away with your anxiety and calmness.

10. Disciplined Life

Being disciplined is about “I will do it” rather than “I’ll do it later”. It is the ladder to success, satisfaction, and happiness. This in turn helps in character building and resisting distractions. With discipline comes a sense of self-control which helps in achieving goals and reducing the level of stress. Discipline boosts self-confidence that aids in making intuitive decisions but not impulsive decisions.

It can start with the smallest of actions like regularly going to the gym, meditating, or studying for a particular period. It can get frustrating or one might feel that everything is going in vain. But one shall be consistent with what he is doing.

The long-term consequences influence the actions of a person with ample self-control. Findings indicated that higher self-control was related to better relationships and interpersonal skills, higher grade point average, less binge eating, more secure attachments, and higher self-esteem. Most importantly staying disciplined makes time for other things like self-care.

The above mentioned can play a huge part in improving various health as well as personal life-related issues. Thus, one shall have philosophies to abide by which can help transform their life.

Edited by Annanya Chaturvedi

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