Your dream is going to require more than some quotes about self-examination. You need to be mindful that your self-examination does not become your dwelling. Is Socrates right?
Oh, The gall! Who dares to challenge the immortal words of Socrates (father of philosophy) who is attributed to have said, “The unexamined life is not worth living?”
Well, Mr. Socrates, what do I do if everything I examine makes me want to scream when no one is there to hear? All those memories of things I should have done, people I should never have hurt and lament of all that time wasted. Why, Mr.socrates is it that examining life paralyses us with regret and remorse, turning our past against the present?
The question becomes, what happens when the examined life feels like it is not worth living? Are we not better off if we leave the past behind us?
The answer is not to confuse examination with obsessive thinking. The self-examination is thinking with Purpose.
“Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.” – ARISTOTLE
The Self-Examination is for Defining Life.
We can choose to believe, as Rousseau did, that life is the meaning of life. That there is no real responsibility for you to engage because even in your inactivity, you define yourself as an inactive person. But is that truly the way you want to live, helpless, sinking into toxic memories of the past, swept by bleak thoughts of the future? We all share some of the same problems. And we all have a choice.
I quit a safe middle-class job, enrolled ten dropped out of a top MBA program and decided to travel. I only realised how scary my decisions were after a fantastic adventure of self and culture. It was worth it, still is.
It is better to choose the existentialist approach which asks you to throw yourself into your projects, work, and passion. Make meaning of your life. But can this be done without deep reflection, the mismanaged and frustrating examination? Yes. As Socrates would tell you, the trick is not to reflect with abandon. Be in control.
In our battle for what is rational and what ought to be, against the forces of an indifferent universe which carry on without regard for right and wrong, we must define ourselves. We must make this life what we can, with consideration to others. And to do this requires knowledge of self. It depends on work and it begs examination.
The man I am today, detest the man I once was but still appreciates the journey of the transition. You too have this option.
Use those moments you regret to appreciate what you must commit to from now on. Remember your time wasted as motivation always to be productive. And sacrifice those lost to you in life for the sake of all the good you will do for those still with you. Take the past, make a better present, then move on.
“There are three things extremely hard: steel, a diamond and to know one’s self.” – BENJAMIN FRANKLIN
The Self-Examination is not for Dwelling.
Do not dwell. Think long enough to grow and learn from failures, to understand and appreciate your successes, then move on.
Accept your past for what it is, as you would accept our position on a speck amidst infinite space. Grow and Let go. Move forward.
Your life will add up to something the moment you begin to build it towards something. The building includes planning, trying, examining and placing one brick at a time.
For this reason, it is imperative that you get to know who you are, what you want in life and why you are willing to commit to it. All of these take self-examination, not a toxic reminiscence.
Examine enough to know and get better, never long enough to lose compassion for yourself. But first find that that thing that most fulfills you, work that feels like play, your passion. It helps.
I have been writing, drawing and doing video work. A far cry from once managing a sales team at an insurance company. One path was easy and full of misery, the other a challenging adventure of exploration and discovery. Where are you in life right now? Know yourself and be brave.
It far more engaging process to examine with Purpose if you have found your purpose. What work do you want to contribute to the world? I choose to inspire others with content.
“To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.” – OSCAR WILDE
The Self-Examination is for the Mastery of Destiny
In Camus’s “Myth of Sisyphus,” Sisyphus is damned to futility, rolling a rock for eternity. But he finds happiness in his Fate. You can too.
Sisyphus chooses to regard his task as who he is. He learns to become one with it, making the best of it. And more related to your life challenge, he becomes passionate about his work.
If you can find your rock, you too will find happiness in this crazy world. Work through that all too familiar feeling that everything you do will be for nothing, focus on the moment while pausing every so often to appreciate where you are going and where you have come from. But in the past or the future, your moments must be brief. Examine and go.
Also, a lot of your self-examination will require acceptance. When self-examination becomes over-reflection, you are asking for self-conflict.
As difficult as it may be for you to believe, your challenges are there because you can overcome them. Examine the qualities you have, the things you can do and really, stop worrying about those feelings that aim to hold you back. Be satisfied with that dissatisfaction that plagues you. Because guess what? You need that feeling of dissatisfaction.
” What the superior man seeks is in himself; what the small man seeks is in others.” – CONFUCIUS
I imagine living in a world that is exactly as I want it, full of love, compassion, reason, and passion. Utopia. But then there would be nothing left to do. Nothing more of my life’s work, boredom would set it. When you feel dissatisfied, react with conviction, direction, and intent.
Besides Utopia means a place that doesn’t exist, meaning that dissatisfaction is not going anywhere unless you can completely detach yourself from expectations.
Your fight against your life dissatisfaction gives you meaning. Your struggle to solve that one world problem that consumes you is your passion. Do not frown upon your dissatisfactions; they are your challenges, use them.
The Self-Examination is for Challenging the Absurd of your Life.
You must come to terms with the absurdities of our existence, that we are living ultimately to die. More unsettling, embrace that we may give everything to something that inevitably will amount to nothing in the scope of the universe. But you must give your all regardless.
For those who wrestle the philosophical dilemma, forget that you will one day die, and forget that we are nothing but dots on drifting dust, these are just realities that exist as excuses when you can face a world of endless possibilities. Do not get stuck.
Examine, just enough to learn then get back to work. Do everything for that vision of yourself in the future. Embrace your fate, as Sisyphus did. But examine, like Socrates would have wanted. Make your fate what you want it to be.
Examine the right way. Practice getting yourself back to the present when your thoughts become wild. And one day you will sit back in a rocking chair marveling at how far you have come, pushed only by your will, defiance, and intentions.
From a Life in Nigeria to the United States, I have made a Life in Spain. I am learning a new language, experiencing a different culture, exposing myself to unfathomable challenges and building my legacy. I am so excited for the next year like I have never been before. This life is mad but can be beautiful if you take hold of it. Examine.
“Know thyself.”- PLATO
The Self-Examination is for Finding Happiness.
You locate the meaning of life, by living it, understanding the significance of your trials and tribulations. Thus, Socrates must have a point. But do not get carried away or reflection will become a poison for your indifferent reality. In enjoying the meaning of your life, you will find happiness.
Furthermore, to be content, it is important to be in the moment, to cherish it and do your best. Do not ever take for granted that the most important facet of your existence is your experience. Do not let them go unexamined, not even as they happen. Be present. But do not confuse examination for dwelling.
Examine with purpose.