Preparing for the Year Ahead With Philosophy

Whether you have decided to bust out or hang in there at your current job and workplace, you need to prepare yourself for the year ahead. In 2018 polony tried to kill you and it goes without saying that there will be something equally sinister in 2019. Your trials will be personal, professional, national and global but with a bit of preparation; the year ahead will not leave you defeated but rather stronger for it. In fact, it’s surprising how helpful pessimism can be. You don’t have to read Friedrich Nietzsche, Plato, Arthur Schopenhauer and Lucius Annaeus Seneca to know, ‘that which does not kill you makes you stronger.’. Although reading philosophy is always recommended.

Preparing for the Year Ahead With Friedrich Nietzsche

It was Nietzsche who first uttered what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, but these days what doesn’t kill you gives you a darker sense of humour and antisocial tendencies. What we may not appreciate however is that what we may see as antisocial tendencies are merely the blunting of what was once our naivety. In order to survive, we need to find ways to push through the trials of traffic and load-shedding to realise that rather than pessimism, a little perspective is what gets us through. In reality, traffic is far from the worst thing that can happen and in order to get to Friday after work drinks with the team; you need to sit in the traffic to get there in the first place.

Preparing for the Year Ahead With Plato

A student of Socrates and the teacher of Aristotle; Plato was wise enough to know that he did not know. This leads us to something we often take for granted, the fact that there is and always will be more to learn. Furthermore, the more we learn the more questions we are likely to ask but until we are open to new knowledge we are unlikely to even know what questions to ask in the first place. This will forever be true regardless of whether you are a developer or an artist. Preparing for the year ahead goes hand in hand with being ready and willing to learn.

Preparing for the Year Ahead With Arthur Schopenhauer

Not only a pessimist but also a devout atheist; Schopenhauer was especially concerned with questioning humanities’ primary motivation. He arrived at will. Will is our primary motivation and the presence of which leads us to continually strive towards fulfilment and satisfaction – which he further argues that we will never be fully satisfied. All in all, as we strive towards the fulfilment which we will never find we continue to experience fear, pain and regret. It’s all pretty disheartening really. What you can take away from it ultimately however is that while you may never be satisfied you can and must still take joy from the small things. In fact in order to survive; you have to, whatever they may be for you.

Preparing for the Year Ahead With Lucius Annaeus Seneca

Possibly the antithesis of searching for joy in the little things is the philosophy of Seneca. A stoic who stood firm in his belief of living a life of virtue and reason rather than emotions. There’s no doubting the fact that reason is an essential tool if you are a developer; hence the inclusion of Seneca in this article. The aim of his writings was to provide a path towards the attainment of virtue, happiness and peace of mind. Rejecting the belief that death is evil, anger is justified, power is valuable and wealth is good; amongst other things. He further asserts that with this awareness we can live our lives stoically prepared for the worst, thus we are better equipped for disappointment – one of the most powerful consolations we may yet encounter.

Take from these philosophies what you will; that’s the point of philosophy anyway. Using reason, logic and critical thinking help us to better understand the world around us and how to not only live but also thrive within it. Work takes the biggest chunk of our lives and if you don’t mentally prepare yourself for the year ahead, you may well succumb to the listeriosis, office politics and overtime. So why not put a little philosophy in your arsenal and smash your way through the year ahead like the champ you are?

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