If you were to imagine your most amazing life, what would it look like?
For many people, an amazing life consists of several things together: a healthy and fit body, a fulfilling career, a high income, cool hobbies, a great family life, awesome friends, and the best romantic partner ever. It’s easy and quite fun to imagine achieving those goals, dreaming of what such a life would be like.
Yet making progress in all of those areas is challenging. You start out motivated, only to quickly find that life is not a smooth ride. There are so many decisions to be made and each choice comes with its own tradeoffs. For example, working hard all day gets you a great career and money, but may come at the cost of hobbies and family life.
What’s needed is a way to look past life’s small bumps and tradeoffs to figure out, in any situation, what the best path is for long-term success. The way to do that is to discover your life’s philosophy.
Philosophy as the foundation
Philosophy is the study of the fundamental questions about knowledge, reason, and character. More than that, it is a way of defining how you live your life.
For example, some powerful philosophical questions are:
- What is your purpose in life?
- What makes you happy?
- How would you define your personal character?
- What personal character would you like to have in the future?
Answering these questions will form the foundation of your life, as the answers help you to create principles to live by.
Let us go through these questions two at a time and see how they can be used to live an amazing life. First with purpose and happiness, and second with defining and developing your character.
Purpose and happiness
If you know your purpose and what makes you happy, then all of your life decisions will align with those two aspects of your life. Whenever making a decision, you can ask yourself:
- Is this in line with my purpose?
- Will this make me happy in the long run?
If the answer to those two questions is yes, then you can confidently proceed down that path in your life. There might be risks, doubts, and insecurities involved, but it doesn’t matter, because you know that it will benefit you in the long run. You’ve defined the overall direction that you want to go in, so you can easily make decisions that align with that.
Finding your life’s philosophy will also help you to self improve and develop your ideal character.
What type of person do you want to be in the future? What character do you want to embody?
These are questions that are part of your philosophy because they define the way in which you want to think and act. If you can answer them, you’ll have a much easier time deciding what to do in your life.
For example, we can list out several character traits that one might want to embody:
- Mentally strong
- High integrity
These are all traits that you could embody today or at least work towards.
Whenever deciding on whether you should do something or act in a certain way, you can ask yourself: “would my future ideal character do this?”
Asking yourself that question helps to align your thoughts and actions with the character you want to embody.
If you want to become confident, asking yourself “what would a confident person do?” is easy. You intuitively understand what confidence is and can at least try to make the same decisions a confident person would. Eventually, you will become a confident person by acting like one.
Bringing them together
All of these ideas of defining purpose, happiness, and character can be applied to every single area of life.
Your career should be chosen based on its alignment with your life’s purpose and what makes you happy. Then you work towards those goals in a way that aligns with your ideal character.
Your relationships should be defined both by the type of partner you want to have and the type of partner you want to be. That way, the relationships will always be serving your purpose and helping you develop your ideal character.
Philosophy will also guide the habits you adopt in the right direction. Anything that does not align with your purpose, happiness, or ideal character can be immediately dropped. If you ever need to make sure you’re on track you can simply ask yourself: “would my ideal character have this habit?” If so, then it is a good one. If not, then realign your actions to get back on track.
Thus, your philosophy is an overarching framework of the life you want to live and who you want to be within that life. If you can define it, you will have established your principles to live by. Every decision, thought, and action you make will be easy as it aligns with your philosophy, your north star in the night’s sky.
How to find your life’s philosophy
We have now established the main thesis for this article: finding your life’s philosophy makes your life amazing by establishing your guiding principles. Our new question, which we will now answer, is how to find that philosophy.
Luckily, finding your life’s philosophy, including your purpose and ideal character, is one of the most natural things you will ever do.
1. What you love
What do you love?
Really, I mean deep down.
What things in life do you really enjoy?
What has always made you happy?
Thinking about what you love is the most natural way to find your purpose. Most people never do this, which is why you hear so many talking about how they don’t know what their purpose is.
Kids as young as 16 and 17 are told to choose their career paths by selecting a University major. By the time you’re 22 and have graduated, you’re expected to have your path set for the next 40 years.
Yet the people who seem the happiest and most fulfilled in life aren’t those who followed set career paths. It’s the people who chose their own path, based on what their gut told them and where their heart guided them.
Look up a video of Steve Irwin or Elon Musk or Steve Jobs talking about their passions. You will see and hear a really an incredible energy in the way they express themselves. They talk about their work as if it’s a gift from the Heavens above, that they were meant to do what they were doing. The only place that we humans can get that passion from is from the heart.
What activities have you always gravitated towards? What things have you always loved to read about? What really gets you excited and sparks your energy?
Once you do find out what you love, it won’t feel like work at all. It gives you so much energy and it’s so much fun, that you’ll just naturally do it.
2. Role models
For developing your character, the best way is to look at role models and try to embody them in your everyday life. By using role models as your guide, you are removing the bias from your own viewpoint and instead simply trying to copy the positive aspects of your role model’s character.
Think of a few role models that you admire. It doesn’t have to be a single person who has all of the traits you want at once, as that’s often very rare to find. You can select a different role model for each area of your life, where each one is a master in their particular subject.
Here are a few examples:
- Marcus Aurelius as a role model for philosophy
- Elon Musk as a role model for career
- Dalai Lama as a role model for peace and happiness
You can then ask yourself some really powerful questions like: how would Marcus Aurelius act in this situation? What business decision would Elon Musk make here? How would the Dalai Lama remain calm and happy under these conditions?
You are using the character of your role models as a guide for developing yourself. It’s much easier to learn how to act by looking at things from your role model’s perspective. There’s less judgement and a more objective view of the situation.
The purpose of this exercise is to set a character template and then work toward embodying it. You establish for yourself a guide for the person you want to be in the future.
It’s worth it
Finding your purpose, developing your character, and building your life’s philosophy will take time. These are really deep questions that may take a few tries to properly develop and answer.
But that process is most definitely worth it. Finding the answer will lay the foundation for your amazing life.
Recommendations for further reading
Philosophy is a powerful subject and learning more about it gives great benefits. For that purpose, I recommend the following books.
Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl