My friends have always seen me as a philosopher, so I thought it would be helpful to share my philosophy of life.
We need to let other people live their lives so we can live ours; we should always be open to experiences, learnings and be careful about choosing our battles. Nothing in life is stable, so being aware of the ups and downs will make matters easier. At the same time, we need to be personally responsible and willing to adjust to the situation.
Life is complicated, and we often come up with solutions without even realizing it.
You likely have a philosophy of life that you don’t think much about, so keep reading, as ew will share 16 principles that my life philosophy is based on.
1) Live and Let Live
Live and let live is probably the most crucial idea of all because it asks us to respect our lives and the lives of other people. But this idea also extends to letting people live freely and without unnecessary restrictions.
Within my worldview, I don’t like being told what to do, so I don’t like telling other people what to do either.
We need to have some rules in place so that things don’t get out of hand, but we should also try to avoid people who don’t share our core values as much as possible. While we can surely be upset when people wrong us, we also need to realize that it isn’t our business what other people do as long as they aren’t harming others in the process.
2) Always Be Learning
Learning isn’t about going to school or taking a class; it is about being curious and exploring the world. Learning from books is also essential as long as you like the books you are reading and aren’t being forced to read them.
Learning can also happen on the fly, during conversations with other people or by watching things happen in the world around us.
For myself, I’ve always been interested in learning about new things, but I can also appreciate that some people aren’t always like me. For this reason, I accept that some people aren’t built for learning, or at least aren’t as effective at it as others.
But learning is still an important value worth pursuing, so always be learning and willing to accept that you have been wrong; that way, you will always be moving forward.
3) Pick Your Battles
With any philosophy, you need to be open to the possibility that you’re mistaken or that people won’t always accept the truth. For this reason, I think it is imperative to know when a battle is worth fighting and when it is not.
Most battles aren’t worth the hassle because people don’t usually change, and arguments can hurt some people’s feelings.
At the same time, there are things worth fighting for, so we should stand up for them when we can. We all want to make the world a better place, but we also all have different ideas about getting there; this means that sometimes it’s better to let things be.
I know a lot of stuff and can often explain situations with great detail, but that doesn’t mean I know what to do or what the solution is.
Have humility and accept that you don’t always know the answers; it will make life easier and less stressful.
4) Stick With Your Decisions, Say No
Sometimes people push us to do things that we don’t want to do; this is why we need to stick with our decisions. For myself, I often know right away what I want, but due to pressure from other people, or a fear of letting them down, I might commit to things I don’t believe in.
The problem is that if we don’t want to do something, our heart isn’t going to be in it, so the outcome will be half-assed.
Learning to say no is often a difficult skill to acquire because we are often told to say yes to adventure. When our hearts say no, the problem with saying yes is that we proceed in the wrong direction and get further away from our goals.
I’m not suggesting that you say no when your friend asks you for help, but at the same time, don’t always say yes either.
5) Trust Your Gut
Luckily, my philosophy of life doesn’t need to be restricted to things that can be proven by science, as we might have a little trouble with this one.
Trusting your gut is about following your intuitions and doing things that feel right even if you don’t have any proof, evidence or assurance that it is the right choice.
If you’ve done a Myer Briggs assessment, you might have found that you are intuitive or not. We can’t expect everyone to follow their guts, but I know that I do. While my intuition has been controversial at times, it has often led me in the right direction and has helped me enjoy many different experiences.
Regardless of our personality type, we need to have faith in our own ability to make decisions.
6) There Are Ups and Down
We might like to think that life is all about successes and celebrations, but there are regular ups and downs to everything. I’ve learned over the years that life seems to follow cycles, and these cycles seem to be outside of my conscious understanding of the world.
This means that we need to be open to the possibilities and accept what life throws at us.
There can’t be sweet without sour, so there also can’t be the good without the bad. Often we don’t have much control over what is happening, so we have to learn as best as we can to live with it. Learn to accept the ups and downs, and life will be easier.
Also, understand that you can’t control everything, and you will find more control in the things you can.
7) Be Real and Trust Yourself
Often, we adjust who we are to the situation we find ourselves in, and at times this is necessary. I can’t wholly be myself at work because, otherwise, I might not have a job. But we can still be ourselves; if we are willing to get guidance from our guts and stick with what we believe in and enjoy.
Sometimes we also need to take the long road, and as long as we stick to it, we will find the satisfaction that we seek.
Being authentic is about trusting yourself and going with what you know about yourself and who you are. This means being honest with people when you are talking and true to your wishes and dreams. But the most difficult situations are those that challenge us and cause us to doubt ourselves or question our judgment.
So when push comes to shove, we need to stick with what we believe and trust ourselves.
8) Go For What You Want
If you are used to not getting what you want, you might not try to get it. In other words, part of what it takes to be true to ourselves and our philosophy is going after what we want. It is easy to ignore what you want and chase what you think you are supposed to want.
But to live life right, we need to go after what we truly want, and we need to have a plan or at least a destination.
Having a dream means having an ideal or goal that is larger than life, which is all fine and dandy, but it doesn’t mean anything unless you go for it. While our views on what we want might say something about us as thinkers, what matters is taking action and working towards a goal that we believe in.
If you aren’t chasing your goals and dreams, you aren’t living by my philosophy of life.
9) Make It Work and Find a Solution
When our shower broke, my first intuition was to open it up and see if I could figure out what was wrong. After a quick google search, it was all sorted out, and the next day I replaced the broken part and fixed the shower. When I told my friends about this, they said they would have called a plumber.
We can always work out our situation, even when we don’t know how to right off the bat.
The most important characteristic here is having the dedication to solving the problem or having the sense to stick with it till you find a solution. Every problem in our lives can often be broken down into solvable circumstances.
I don’t mean to make lite of your situation cause I don’t understand it, but I can say that it is possible to commit to making anything work, and it will.
10) Personally Responsible is Crucial
So many people blame the world for the things that are wrong with their lives. I can’t speak for all of them, but I know everyone has their challenges, but I also know that many of them can be worked out.
Taking personal responsibility is about looking at your situation and asking, “how can I make this better?”
If we take responsibility for our situation, we might blame ourselves for everything, but that is only partially true. It is important to realize that you don’t control the situation, but you control your reactions to it. Meaning we are personally responsible for our response, not to the situations themselves.
Blaming other people gives away our power; taking responsibility takes that power and puts it back in our hands.
11) Learn From Failure
We all make mistakes; we have all failed, and there will always be times when we could have done better. However, if we keep dwelling on those sorts of things, we only get pain; we want to learn from our failures and move forward.
When it comes to living our lives the right way, and in line with our philosophy, we must always improve and progress.
There was this study where a professor gave his pottery class an assignment. Half of the class would present one piece of work and be marked on it; the other half would be judged by how many pieces they created. Who do you think made the best pieces?
It turns out that we evolve with our mistakes, so the more pieces people created, the better their pottery turned out.
12) Be A Lover of Fate
There have been times in my life where I felt like I had no control over the direction my life was going. When we are young, we are impatient; we want everything to happen immediately, so we can’t seem to wait. However, now that I’m older, I see how everything that happened before was necessary for me to be where I am now.
There is so much that we can’t control, and as I mentioned before, we can often only control our response.
So to go through life and feel like it is all a part of a plan seems believable. I’m not making any claim to god or things unproven, just to the possibility that if we decided to see things as a holistic narrative, it makes things feel more genuine.
Rather than trying to fight the future, try to embrace it, it will make life much easier, and you will get to the same place in the end.
13) Remember Your Lessons
When people tell us stories, or we read novels about strangers’ lives, we might be exposed to all sorts of lessons. Some will be good, and some will be bad, but in the end, we will mostly forget them because they aren’t ours. We must always remember our lessons as we learnt them for a reason, and they happened so that we would figure something out.
Our lives are our own stories, they are filled with ups and downs, good and bad choices and everything in between, but no matter what, they are ours.
As we go through life, we are constantly being shown the way, so have faith, follow through with it, but don’t make the same mistakes twice.
Continually be improving, and you will always be learning from the lessons of the past.
14) Explore and Be Open to Opportunities
Figuring out what you want to do with your life is always a challenge, especially when you don’t know what you want to do. The only way to figure out what you like is to try lots of different things. I only discovered that rice was a great food when I moved to Korea to teach English.
I had to take a big risk in my life and travel to a new place to learn all sorts of things about myself.
While discovering how delicious rice is might not be everyone’s cup of tea, being open to experiences has always been a personality trait of mine. For this reason, I respect it and appreciate it in others, which is why it’s an important part of my philosophy of life.
I realize that everyone is different, regardless, some of us will need to push ourselves harder to try new things, but I guarantee it will be worth it in the long run.
15) Keep on Dreaming
We are often told to wake up and quit dreaming, but dreams are important, and we should keep them in our minds as we go through life. On the other hand, some of us have daydreams about what our future lives might look like.
While we can’t predict the future, having an idea of where we would like to go can always help by guiding us.
As long as we keep dreaming of something better, we always have the motivation to keep trying and working towards a destination. While sometimes our dreams can get us down if they are unrealistic, if we focus on what is realistic, even things that might seem extreme, they will always be within the realm of possibilities.
There is nothing wrong with dreaming about a better life, but you can’t just dream; you need to be willing to work towards it.
16) Stick to The Plan
While everything so far has been a principle of my philosophy of life, this last one is different cause it connects them all. There are many other ideas here, and it might be challenging to remember them all, but having an idea of what you want and what you should do gives you the advantage of consistency.
Every choice can’t always be our best choice, but if we know where we want to go and have a rough sense of how we should get there, it will always be more manageable.
Come up with a plan, even a simple one and stick to it, you might not always be correct, but you will at least be throwing darts at the same dartboard.
We might not always have the best plan, but having something is better than having nothing. So figure out what you want out of your life and stick to the plan.
I’ve always thought about my life philosophy, but I’ve never gotten it down in words, so writing this was a relief. If you enjoyed reading these ramblings, you might also enjoy my book called How to be Amazing: A Manifesto. Along with life experiences, it covers 42 ways to live a more meaningful life in today’s crazy world. I can’t guarantee that it will change your life, but it changed mine.