Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Looking back to move forward

“The unexamined life is not worth living.”
-       Socrates

Socrates set the bar for most of Western philosophy and dedicated most of his enquiry and examination to the growth of human character and morality. He was a firm believer that once we as humans accept our ignorance and lack of knowledge in understanding the world and life itself, we would then be able to truly acquire genuine knowledge.

So it’s understandable that he would think that in order to experience a better and fuller future, one must look to the past for guidance and a little direction.

Maybe looking at what we could have done better in 2013, or even what we did not do at all, will give us a better chance of getting it right in 2014. Dredging up the past might not always be the healthiest thing to do; but at the start of a new year, taking stock of the year before could save you just a little time and effort – or maybe save you from making the same mistakes twice without even realizing it.

Socrates knew this. He knew that making mistakes is vital to growing as a person and building one’s character. But he also realized that because we all want a good future for ourselves, one of the best ways to get it is to look at the past and let our actions and experiences guide us to making better decisions in the present.

It was also Socrates who said, “Know thyself.” And that’s pretty important too. For if we look at our past and the life we’ve lived so far, doesn’t that give us greater insight into who we are and so move us along to where we ought to be?

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