It was written above the entrance of the Oracle at Delphi, “Know thyself.” Really, if you followed this advice, you wouldn’t need the Oracle! Likewise today, you wouldn’t have to visit either the self-help or career sections of the local bookstore or watch Dr. Phil.
Let’s see how this work in the context of the Nature vs. Nurture article. Suppose you wake up one day, and you are gravely unhappy. The dreaded Midlife Crisis. After doing extensive soul searching, you remember that as a kid you were a gifted gardener – you could recite the names of all the plants and growing seasons off the top of your head. But that was “just a hobby,” and your parents soon steered you toward your “real career” as an engineer. You didn’t like it, but what could you do? After all, they were right…right?
Now that you have rediscovered yourself, you feel like a huge load has been lifted. To understand your true nature is to become whole, and now the healing can begin. If you harbor any simmering resentment towards your parents, perhaps now you can find it in your heart to forgive them. They were doing their best. Although they were mistaken in their nurturing, their intentions were true. Even if you can’t quit your job and go into gardening, you can at least resume it on the side to enrich your life. See you don’t need a shrink!*
*Here I must sound a note of caution. I’m not suggesting you never need a psychiatrist. If you have serious mental disorders, you should definitely see one. Some of them may be hacks, but some are quite good – the same goes for almost any field. If I were a betting man though, I would wager that most of us aren’t mental. The main problem in this hurry up world we live in is that no one takes the time to sit down and listen, so you actually have to pay someone to sit there and listen to you talk about your problems, childhood, etc. You could save yourself a lot of money if you do it yourself or with some very good friends – as in trustworthy and patient ones, NOT your drinking buddies!
The same could be said about career advisors. They help you talk your through your interests and life goals and make a plan for the future. They may be rather useful in making a plan, but self-discovery is (as the name implies) something you can do yourself.
2 thoughts on “Know thyself”
I want to study philosophy
If you’re just starting out, I recommend watching Philosophy: A Guide to Happiness with Alain de Botton. It’s an easy introduction to how philosophy can be useful even today.