How do you develop a personal philosophy?
A personal philosophy is a basic framework for making decisions. It describes how you view the world, your place in it, and what you value. The more thought you put into developing your philosophy, the better equipped you will be to make tough decisions in line with your values when faced with difficult situations.
Why should we bother with a personal philosophy?
Having a personal philosophy gives you a personal set of guidelines to follow when it comes to specific instances in life involving morals, ethics, and how we see ourselves fitting in the world. Do we always do what is right? No matter how painful? Do we see ourselves as independent actors? Or, do we see and understand how our words and actions directly impact the world around us?
What is our personal code of ethics? What is our personal response to adversity? What is our reaction when someone wrongs us?
Having a personal philosophy prevents us from acting selfishly. Having a personal philosophy allows us to persevere in the face of adversity. Having a personal philosophy prevents us from stooping to the level of another person who has wronged us, just for revenge.
A personal philosophy keeps us mentally resilient. A personal philosophy helps us to grow.
How do you develop a personal philosophy? What are its steps, phases, and pitfalls?
The first step is to ask yourself some fundamental questions about life: How do I see myself? What are my goals? What are my priorities? These answers should guide everything else that follows. Next, try to understand the meaning of various concepts like truth or honor or virtue or justice and how they relate to your life. A good place to start is by reading the philosophy of others who have grappled with these questions before you, such as Socrates or Confucius. Once you’ve developed a basic framework for thinking about the world, test it out in specific situations. For example, let’s say you want to know if something is virtuous; ask yourself if it fits within your definition of virtue. If not, then that thing cannot be virtuous. By applying this framework in different areas of your life — like family and work and friends and money — you’ll ultimately develop a set of values that guide how you live and what decisions you make on a day-to-day basis.
When examining personal philosophy in the modern world, it’s important to remember that your opinions and values are not something inherent in who you are. Rather, they’re a collection of decisions made over the course of your life. Once you understand this, it becomes clear that developing a personal philosophy is about taking charge over what you believe instead of just accepting it as an unchangeable part of you.
For instance, I used to get angry when things did not go my way. I would verbally lash out at anyone who would listen. Now, I understand that I may not get my way. Rather than lash out, I focus. I control what I can and improve where needed. My personal philosophy has developed me into a more emotionally stable human being, ready to tackle the world.
Personal philosophy is defined as the system of values that guides how you live your life. It describes how you view the world, your place in it, and what you value. While everyone has a different personal philosophy, it typically reflects the decisions someone has made about his or her own identity and existence. There are many components to this framework for thinking about the world — ranging from concepts like truth or honor to attitudes toward wealth or family — but all can be tied back to an individual’s fundamental beliefs.
What are some examples of important questions to start with?
Some other questions that might provide insight into an individual’s philosophy are: How do I see myself? What are my goals? What does virtue mean? Are people inherently good or evil? What is a just society? Asking these questions might lead to answers that align with things like an ethical code, a political philosophy, or a religious faith. Each of those areas contains different value judgments about what’s good and bad, which leads to specific choices in how someone lives his or her life.
How does personal philosophy relate to identity?
Your philosophy represents the overarching view through which you interpret everything else in your life. It’s the lens through which you see truth or justice or virtue, and all of your opinions are made in light of that framework. When someone says “that’s just how I am” or “it’s just my personality,” it reveals a lack of awareness about how his or her actions reflect on their personal philosophy. People who think deeply about who they are, have a greater capacity to make good decisions because they know what type of person they want to be, beyond just being “themselves.” Additionally, having an extra awareness of self leads to greater awareness of how your thoughts, actions, opinions, and attitudes impact those around you.
Is it possible for two people to have the same personal philosophy?
People often think others with similar circumstances will hold similar positions on issues like politics or faith. They assume there must be some underlying logic that determines why someone thinks one thing or another. But two people can look at the same issue and come to wildly different conclusions while still having a shared personal philosophy. That’s why knowing someone well is often necessary to begin to understand their value system; it might take years before you even glimpse their full perspective.
What makes someone’s personal philosophy unique?
A personal philosophy is more than just a set of values that guide an individual; it’s also about how he or she uses those values to make decisions and react to others. For example, there are some people who would put their family ahead of everything else in life, whereas others might say following your conscience is most important. Those differences represent two different ways of thinking about what’s more important, even though they’re both operating under the same general framework. Personal philosophies become uniquely identifiable when they’re filtered through specific contexts like culture or nationality or religion because these things change the lens through the world is viewed.
How do emotions affect personal philosophy?
Emotions can be useful because they help connect us to our values. If we didn’t feel anything, we wouldn’t have any reason to care about acting morally or pursuing meaning in life. Without empathy or sympathy, our grandparents would not have intervened during World War II to stop the third Reich. Without emotion, laws protecting all of us from crimes of violence would not exist.
But it’s important not to let our emotions drive every decision without thinking them through and applying some rational thought as well. People who are ruled by their feelings often find themselves saying or doing things they ultimately regret. The trick is finding the balance between rational thinking and emotional feeling so you can make decisions based on your personal philosophy.
How does someone continue refining their personal philosophy?
Ideally, you’ll constantly come back to your beliefs and ask yourself if what you’re doing matches up with them. It’s not always easy to do because you’re probably busy and distracted by all sorts of things, but it can be helpful to think about your personal philosophy when experiencing certain situations. For example, if someone gets angry with you or hurts your feelings, you can ask yourself how that person fits in with the values you want to hold dear. If they don’t make sense together, try to identify why so you can use this knowledge to make better decisions in the future.
What are some common traps people fall into when developing their personal philosophy?
It’s easy for someone’s personal philosophy to become jaded or biased because of a bad experience they’ve had or something they were taught growing up. A judgmental parent might convince a child that people who don’t believe in God are evil and deserve to be punished, and this belief might stay with the child for life. For some people, it might even lead them to reject their religion or spirituality completely because they assume anyone who’s part of a church is just as judgmental and hypocritical as their parents were. Or, someone who is mistreated by a member of a certain race might use that experience to justify prejudice against all members of that group, even though there’s no logical reason to do so. What these individuals don’t realize is they’re allowing the actions of one person to ruin everything for them and completely miss out on getting to know an entire culture or community.
How can you apply your personal philosophy?
Your personal philosophy should guide more than just what you say; it should also determine how you act on a day-to-day basis. Every decision affects not just you but others around you, so once you figure out what matters most to you and how best to use those values and beliefs, make every effort to make decisions accordingly. Even if things don’t always go according to plan, try not to let that affect your belief system. As long as you’re trying the best you can and acting in line with what really matters to you, then your personal philosophy is healthy and rewarding.
What do people find most satisfying about creating a personal philosophy?
People like knowing who they are and why they make certain decisions because it gives them an identity outside of their job or family roles. Setting goals for yourself based on what’s important is often more fulfilling than just going through life without any particular purpose in mind…most people enjoy having a reason for everything they do from morning until night. Not everyone needs a set way of thinking, but those who have carefully developed their beliefs feel confident about themselves and are happy with what they’re doing.
Life is about the journey’s and growth we take. Not the destination. After all, the destination for all of us is mortality. We all die. What we do on our way to our impending death is where purpose and meaning come from.
That same framework can be applied in almost every facet of life. Think about it. If you have ever earned a promotion, you were ecstatic to get it. Yet, within just a few short years, we are looking towards ways to advance even more. It is the quest for our continued journey that fuels us forward.
What are some common pitfalls of creating a personal philosophy?
Just like people can get caught up in their emotions, it’s easy to fall into the trap of overthinking everything. Too much self-analysis wastes time and energy limiting someone’s capacity to actually live life…people who focus too much on figuring out their personal philosophy often spend years without ever taking the leap to explore the world around them or form meaningful relationships. They might be able to fit things together perfectly into some sort of grand philosophical puzzle that makes sense on paper, but it doesn’t mean anything if they never actually put these beliefs into practice. At the end of the day, having a clear philosophy is great, but it’s more important to see if it actually changes anything in their lives.
People who are introspective spend a lot of time wondering what happens after death, whether or not free will exists, whether people are truly aware of their consciousness if there’s any way to prove God exists, if life has any purpose at all…there are so many different questions to ask, and no one person can come up with an answer for everything. The more someone thinks about these questions though, the more they realize how much is still unknown…which can actually be incredibly exciting because it gives them plenty of room to try new things without worrying too much about what might happen next.
How would you define your personal philosophy?
Ideally, everyone has a clear understanding of what they believe to be true and feels comfortable sharing this information with others. It’s impossible for one person to know everything about another person because there are just too many factors involved…although it might be nice if everyone shared the same view of the world, that wouldn’t leave much room for individuality or creativity at all! As long as people try not to judge others based on their personal philosophy, they should feel free to share whatever they think is important without constantly worrying about whether other people will agree with them.
How does your personal philosophy shape your worldview?
Someone’s personal philosophy affects their perspective on just about every aspect of life because it’s the basis for everything they believe to be true. If their worldview changes, then their personal philosophy shifts along with it…even people who are introspective enough to develop a system for understanding the world around them can’t help but learn new things and expand their set of beliefs as time goes on.
I don’t think it is an unfair statement to argue that you are not the same person you were five years ago. By that reasoning, we can assume in another five years, our growth will continue to mold us into someone different than our current state. There are always more questions to ask and answers to find, but someone’s personal philosophy helps guide them through this process without too many surprises along the way.
Your personal philosophy is an incredibly important tool for living a fulfilling life. It helps you make sense of the world around you and guides your decisions based on what you believe to be true. Everyone’s philosophy is different, but as long as you stay true to your own beliefs, you’re sure to find happiness and satisfaction. Don’t be afraid to share your views with others, and always be willing to learn more about what makes life meaningful to other people. There’s no right or wrong answer when it comes to defining your personal philosophy, so don’t stress out too much about it! Just take things one step at a time and continue exploring the world around you.
Originally published at http://davidbrownonline.com on April 4, 2022.