As you can tell on each trek within our Wisdom Notes, our personal philosophy about family is that it is very important to us. We desire to preserve the heritage that has been entrusted to us. We realize that few individuals in today’s fragmented and fast-paced society have this privilege. Just as we are aware of this, on the trails that we will hike today, we will look for additional signposts to discover…
7 Insights for Developing Your Personal Philosophy
Your philosophy is the greatest determining factor in how your life works out. This is how to build a meaningful one.
While there are many puzzle pieces for success, without developing a sound philosophy, the other pieces are of little value. So as you go forward on this journey toward success, remember to:
1. Set your sail.
The winds of circumstance blow upon all of us. We all have experienced the winds of disappointment, despair, and heartbreak, but why do people arrive at such different places at the end of the journey? Have we not all sailed upon the same sea?
The major difference isn’t circumstance. It’s the set of your sail (or the way you think). It’s what you do after you have set your sails and the wind decides to change direction. When the winds change, you must change. You have to struggle to your feet and reset the sail in a manner that will steer you in the direction of your own deliberate choice. The set of your sail, or how you think and how you respond, has a far greater capacity to destroy your life than any challenges you face. How quickly you respond to adversity is far more important than adversity itself.
The great challenge of life is to control the process of your own thinking.
2. Learn from success and failure.
The best way to establish a new and powerful personal philosophy is to objectively review the conclusions you’ve drawn about life. Any conclusion you’ve drawn that isn’t working for you could be working against you. The best way to counteract misinformation and wrong data is to input new and accurate information. Gather information from personal experience. If you’re doing something wrong, evaluate what you did wrong and change things.
Seek an objective, outside voice about how you are and what you’re doing. An objective opinion from someone you respect can lead you to early and accurate information about your decision-making process. Listen to the freshness of an outside voice—someone who can see the forest and isn’t lost in the trees.
Observe the successes and failures of other people. If people who failed were to give seminars, it would be helpful. You could see how people mess up and you wouldn’t do what they did. Past failures and errors prompt you to amend current conduct so you don’t replicate the past.
Learn from people who do well. You should be in a constant search for people you admire and respect and whose behavior you can model. It’s far better to deliberately choose the people you will permit to influence you than to allow bad influences to affect you without your conscious choice.
3. Read all you can.
People from all walks of life who’ve had some of the most incredible experiences have taken the time to write of these experiences so you can be instructed and amend your philosophies.
The contributions of other people enable you to reset your sails based upon their experiences. Books offer treasures of information that can change your life, fortune, relationships, health, and career for the better.
For me, one book that has shaped my philosophy is the Book of Proverbs in the Bible. King Solomon, the wisest person to ever live, wrote most of the Proverbs. The book contains words that are rich, practical, and applicable to your everyday life and philosophy.
4. Keep a journal.
A journal is a gathering place for all of your observations and discoveries about life. It’s your own transcript that captures your experiences, ideas, desires, and conclusions about the people and the events that have touched your life. The past, when properly documented, is one of the best guides for making good decisions for the future.
The very act of writing about your life helps you to think more objectively about your actions. Writing tends to slow down the flow of information and gives you time to analyze and ponder the experience. The intense scrutiny of journal writing can enable you to make refinements in your philosophy that are truly life-changing.
5. Observe and listen.
Pay attention during your day and watch what’s going on. Surround yourself with people you respect and admire. Find people whose personalities and achievements stimulate, fascinate, and inspire you, and then strive to assimilate their best qualities into your life. This is called the skill of selecting. Don’t waste your time on the silly and the shallow.
One of the major reasons people don’t do well is because they keep trying to get through the day while a more worthy cause is to get from the day. We must become sensitive enough to observe and ponder what is happening around us. Be alert. Be awake. Often the most extraordinary opportunities are hidden among seemingly insignificant events.
Be a good listener. Find a voice of value and stay for a while. With so many voices vying for your attention, you need to develop the skill of selective listening and only focus on the information that appeals to you. If a voice is not leading to the achievement of your goals, exercise caution in how long you listen.
6. Be disciplined.
Every day is filled with dozens of personal crossroads, moments when you are called upon to make a decision regarding minor as well as major questions. These decisions chart a path to a future destination. With careful mental preparation, you can make wise choices.
The development of a sound philosophy prepares you for making sound decisions. When you eat healthy foods, you experience positive results in a short time. When you start exercising, you feel a new vitality almost immediately. When you begin reading, you experience a growing awareness and a new level of self-confidence.
New disciplines practiced daily produce exciting results. The magic of new disciplines causes you to amend your thinking.
7. Don’t neglect.
Neglect is the major reason people don’t have what they want. If you don’t take care of things in your life, neglect becomes a disease. If you neglect to do good things with your money, you probably neglect to do good things with your time. If you don’t know what’s going on with your health or your bank account, you could be at risk.
Set up new disciplines to change your life. Don’t neglect. Everything is within your reach if you will read books, use journals, practice the disciplines, and wage a new and vigorous battle against neglect.
Be wise as you build your philosophy. Study Proverbs and others that have shown to be wise. Commit yourself to a new journey and say, I’m going to change my life. Once you do, you’ll never look back.
As it is written in Colossians 2:8, “Don’t let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the spiritual powers of this world, rather than from Christ.”
In our next Wisdom Note, we will explore 7 activities that we should all incorporate into our lives. To receive wisdom and encouragement five days a week, encourage your friends and family to join us and then come along tomorrow for another day of our podcast.