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A Brief Philosophy of Life

I think it is useful to articulate core beliefs clearly and succinctly. It clarifies thinking and makes it possible to share one's life experience with others. While life is complex and should not be oversimplified, we should all be capable of outlining the basic principles we live by.

Here are mine:

1. Keep your own doorstep clean.
(From the seventeenth-century English proverb: If everyone would keep his own doorstep clean, the whole world would be clean)

It is difficult to help others if you need help yourself. It is difficult to persuade others to accept your advice unless you have personal credibility. Therefore, I try to keep my own life under control.

Recognizing, over the years, how difficult it is to accomplish this one objective, I have made it a priority.

Keeping your own doorstep clean involves, among other things, earning a living, living below your means, providing for future needs, maintaining good health habits, nurturing your personal relationships, being a good citizen, being a good neighbor, and living with as much personal integrity as possible.

2. Lead a life that is outwardly simple yet inwardly rich.

The best life is a life of moderation. I try to avoid both conspicuous consumption and joyless asceticism. Simplicity often involves setting boundaries and saying “no” to otherwise worthwhile activities. It is a constant process of making choices. As I observe the world around me, it often seems that nothing is as uncommon as the ability to apply common sense to the vagaries of life.

Making your life inwardly rich means directing your life toward a set of worthy yet attainable goals. To a large extent, these goals must be self-defined and will vary according to the individual’s talents and inclinations. For me personally, a rich life involves reading and writing.

3. When in doubt about to how to act, adopt the wisdom of the New Testament.

I have found the Christian life rewarding. I enjoy the company of committed Christians. Following the principles of the New Testament has yet to betray me. The wisdom of the New Testament is summed up, to my mind, in certain key passages I have tried to memorize and repeat to myself regularly: Matthew 5:1-12; Matthew 22:36-40; Galatians 5:22-24; James 3:17-18; Philippians 2:3-8; 1 Corinthians 13:1-13; James 1:26-27.

By the words “when in doubt,” I mean such things as when in doubt about which career path to follow, when in doubt about what your priorities should be, when in doubt about what is the most ethical choice to make, when in doubt about how to treat another person.

Comments (1)

I am in total agreement. 563007073

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