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How To Become Wise By Becoming A Fool

Last week, we answered the question: “What is the point of philosophy?” This week, we will discuss how to become wise by becoming foolish.

If you’ve spent any amount of time working on yourself, you’ve likely encountered criticism – perhaps even from the people you care about most. 

  • If you’re trying to lose weight, your partner might make fun of you when they see you in your workout clothes, struggling with your first pushup
  • If you’re trying to drink less alcohol or do fewer drugs, your friends might call you lame and decide not to hang out without you
  • If you’re trying to diversify your income with a side hustle, your coworkers – or boss – might insult you to your face, telling you that your dreams are stupid, and you should give up

Honestly? Fuck those people. They’re assholes, and if you listen to them, they’ll hold you back.

But that’s the thing. You don’t have to listen to them. Like we said last week, by studying philosophy, you become free – to believe what you want, care about what you want, and do what you want.

So, philosopher, find your north star and chase it with every fiber of your being, even if the people around you call you foolish because they’re too scared to look at the sky.

Quote Of The Week

“If you want to improve, be content to be thought foolish and stupid with regard to external things. Don't wish to be thought to know anything; and even if you appear to be somebody important to others, distrust yourself.” – Epictetus

Only Fools Are Free

The path of a philosopher is lonely. Most people chase pleasure and throw temper tantrums when they don’t get their way. The philosopher does the opposite, expressing gratitude for his hardships and turning his back on short-term pleasures in favor of larger goals.

As you walk your path of philosophy, over time, you’ll find it harder to relate to the people around you:

  • You won’t always be “plugged in” to what’s happening on social media
  • You won’t spend all your evenings watching sports, Netflix, or YouTube
  • You won’t eat and drink the way some of your friends do
  • You won’t be aware of the latest styles or fashion
  • You won’t try to impress anyone with a grand collection of fine things

Over time, people might see you as weird, because they won’t understand you, and unfortunately, most people hate what they don’t understand.

That means, as you grow, you will make enemies of people who are offended that you would have the audacity to be disciplined, kind, and detached in a world full of excess, cruelty, and chaos.

The wiser you become, the more you’ll be considered a fool.

But, ask yourself, would you rather fit in, or be free?

Question Of The Week

Have you ever done something you didn’t want to do so that you could fit in with people you didn’t even like? If so, were you happy with the result?

Watch + Listen

Watch this lesson on YouTube: https://youtu.be/LBma2vf1TfQ

Listen to this episode as a podcast: https://anchor.fm/chris1404/episodes/How-To-Become-Wise-By-Becoming-Foolish-e1om0nf

Live On Purpose // Die Without Regrets

Each Wednesday, I publish a 3-5 minute newsletter + video podcast that applies ancient wisdom to modern life.

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