I never thought I would say these words, but yes, I really love philosophy.
Simply put, philosophy is the search for wisdom and knowledge. It is a way of thinking about the world and the circumstances that surround us.
Philosophy starts by asking very basic questions about the nature of human thought, the nature of the situations around us, and the connections between them.
One of the great new writers of our time, Ryan Holiday, has brought some of the leading ancient philosophers to life like Seneca the Younger and Marcus Aurelius. Holiday’s books Ego is the Enemy and The Obstacle is the Way are great reads and I highly recommend them. His books delve into fundamental questions about existence, knowledge, values, reason, and thought.
In one of his writings, Holiday shares a teaching from Seneca the Younger, a great Roman philosopher. The passage highlights why we need to read and study other great leaders.
In Seneca’s writing he says, “We should hunt out the helpful pieces of teaching, and the spirited and nobel-minded sayings which are capable of immediate practical application – not far-fetched or archaic expressions or extravagant metaphors and figures of speech – and learn them so well that words becomes works.”
This cuts to the core of one of my concerns about leaders today. It seems to me that often, people are not willing to put in the work. They spend time reading book after book and listening to podcasts, but they never actually put the teachings into practice. They believe that just reading or listening to the leadership philosophies will make them great leaders. But we know this isn’t the case! You need to put the words into actions.
This is why I love philosophy. To use Seneca’s words, we need to learn the works we read so well “that words becomes works.” We can change our leadership brand if we just follow the stoics and apply their advice. Then, we can become the leader we were meant to be.
You can’t just read about it, you have to do it!
Until next time…I’m Marty, make every minute count.