We all want to live fulfilling lives and become better human beings right?

Wisdom is one of the greatest gifts you can give someone. It’s the hard-fought lessons we’ve learned from a lifetime of our experiences that we pass on to the next generation.

So here are some sage saying to help guide us. Let’s begin!

Read while listening to this song:

On Happiness:

Becoming happier is something we all want. Happiness is not a personal virtue people are just born with. Happiness is about developing a good mental habit. This means having an optimistic view of life but also being realistic and accepting that we won’t always be happy. We become what we repeatedly do and think. – Aristotle

I’ve learned that happiness is a mental habit and is about trying to EVERYDAY identify the positive things we are grateful to have in life – friends, family, eating a nice meal, being able to email people, and being able to watch YouTube videos.

Quick exercise: Tonight as you lay on your head on the pillow, think of three things that went well today.

Buddha says that our desires – even our desire for happiness – can make us unhappy. So it’s so important to be aware of our thoughts and desires and try our best to live our lives day by day, breath by breath, and moment by moment.

So when waking up or laying your head down on the pillow remember this – there is only one path to happiness, and that is giving up all outside your sphere of choice, regarding nothing else in your possession, surrendering all else to God or Lady Fortune. – Epictetus from the Discourses. 

On Habits:

If you want to change yourself, start with a tiny habit. It’s just some task you can do in 30 seconds every single day. A lot of people I know say they want whiter teeth. So when I teach people to floss, I tell them just to floss one tooth every night after they brush their teeth. Like planting a seed, this small tiny habit blooms into a bright cherry blossom when you smile. I got this tiny habit tip from BJ Fogg who is a Stanford Psychology Professor.

On Friends and Family:

 Friends can sometimes come and go. It’s just life. Don’t take it personally. We act out of self-interest and we live in our own “world”. However, do learn to try to laugh at the tragedies in life and surround yourself with the love of friends and family.

Try your best to cherish your family  and say “Hi”! once in awhile. They’re usually the ones there when you need them the most.

When choosing friends, avoid people of questionable character. Actions are greater than words. So when choosing a friend or spouse, focus more on the person’s lifestyle and actions more than the words they say.

No matter how hard you try, you can’t make someone like you. So learn to put our own needs first and learn to sometimes say no and establish boundaries. You are responsible for your own happiness. Steve Jobs once said “You can only please some of your customers some of the time.”

Sometimes you do have to be a little selfish. That’s okay.  Self-preservation is the first law of nature. Ralph Emerson says, “Remember to adopt the pace of nature. Her pace is patience, patience, and patience”.

 On Money:

Obviously being rich is better than being poor. However, as billionaire Charlie Munger says from the book Damn Right “there are a lot of things in life way more important than money. All that said, some people do get confused. I play golf with a man who says, “What good is health? You can’t buy money with it.

“Let’s look at the really rich – how often they look just like the poor! When they travel abroad they must restrict their baggage. When they are in a hurry, they have to dismiss their material stuff. Even those in the army, how few of their possessions can they keep?” This is a Seneca quote from the book The Daily Stoic by Ryan Holiday.

On Gaining Wisdom and Solving Problems:

A lot of problems in life can be solved by inversion. This idea comes from a mathematician Jacobi.  He says one way to solve the hard problems in life is to invert. So instead of ask “How can I help the country of India?” instead ask “What are three problems that India is suffering from?”

To understand reality, you have to understand the mental models – philosophy, english, math, physics, etc – that underline reality. So what is elementary, worldly wisdom? Well, the first rule is that you can’t really know anything if you just remember facts and try and bang ’em back on a test. If the facts don’t hang together on a latticework of theory, you don’t have them in a useful way.

You’ve got to have mental models in your head. And you’ve got to try to explain your experiences in life through your latticework of “mental models”. You may have noticed students who just try to remember and pound back what is remembered on tests and end up failing the tests? You’ve got to hang your experience on a latticework of models in your head.” – Charlie Munger

“Never fool yourself and remember you are the easiest person to fool” from Richard Feynman. This Feynman quote is saying sometimes we need to ask our friends for advice because we can’t solve all the problems in life by ourselves.

Spend each day trying to be a little wiser than you were when you woke up. Do your duties faithfully and with heart. Step by step you will get ahead, but not in fast bursts. You build discipline by preparing for the fast bursts. Slug it out one inch at a time, day by day. Set some time to reflect on your life each day. If you live long enough, most people get what they deserve. – Charlie Munger from Poor Charlie’s Almanack

How do you get what you want in life? Well, the safest way to get what you want is to try to deserve what you want. You won’t always get what you want. However, you want to follow the golden rule. You want to deliver to the world what you would buy if you were on the other end. There is no ethos that is so right for any person to have. The people who have this ethos win in life and they don’t just win money or honors. They win the damn respect and trust of the people they deal with. there is huge pleasure in life from obtaining the deserved trust of the people around you.

The acquisition of wisdom is a moral duty.With lifetime learning, you are going to advance in life. The problems of morality are deeply intertwined with psychology, philosophy, and economics.  In order to serve, we have to love. Affectionate love should be controlled since it can turn into a sick type of lust. However, there is no love that is so right like admiration based love. You probably have this for the living and the dead.

On Perseverance and Hardships:

Remember everyone has their flaws. However, trying your dang best to be reliable usually earns you the well-deserved respect and admiration of those around you. And not being reliable can easily lose the respect of those around you. – Yibo

“Another thing of course is life will have terrible blows, horrible blows, and unfair blows. And some people recover and others don’t. And there I think the attitude of Epictetus is the best. He thought that every mischance in life was an opportunity to behave well. Every mischance in life was an opportunity to learn something and your duty was not to be submerged in self-pity but to use the terrible blow in a constructive way. That is a very good idea.” – Charlie Munger 2007 USC Commencement speech

The brick walls in life are not there to keep you out. They are simply there to give you a chance to show how badly you want something. – Randy Pausch. We will go through hardships and obstacles in life. It’s important for us to not run away from them. Life goes on after failure.

“Make new mistakes every day. It’s the only way you’ll grow. – Nancy Rousseau, Little Rock Central High Principal from 2002 to present.

“We rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame.” Romans 5:3-5

On Kindness:

Every act of kindness no matter how small, is NEVER ever wasted. – Aesop

It’s just too hard to see the impact of these acts of kindness ahead of time since we live such small and fragile existences as humans on our short time on Earth.

“Love really is the best of ways.” – Richard Wurmbrand

On Self-Compassion:

I have learned that I have to ask for forgiveness the most from myself. You must love yourself. You have to forgive yourself. Not just today but every day. Whenever you remember a flaw, you have to tell yourself “I’m okay”. You have to forgive yourself. – C. Joybell C.

“You are greater than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” – Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Miller

Never lose your self-respect or grow too familiar and prideful with yourself – Baltasar Gracian, The Art of Worldly Wisdom

On Learning from Mistakes:

We all make a lot of mistakes. It’s fine. It’s make makes life so interesting.

Here are 8 mental biases that explain why we can make mistakes:

  • Authority Tendency – listening to authorities or “experts” in our lives such as parents, professors, the cops, or world leader such as Barack Obama.
  • Peer Pressure Tendency or Social Proof – getting influenced by what everyone says about a product or service.
  • Liking or Loving Tendency – When we go the extra mile for a friend or family.
  • 7 Deadly Sins: Pride, envy, lust, greed/gluttony, wrath, and sloth
  • Psychological Denial Tendency – When we just deny reality because we don’t care or it’s too hard to bear.
  • Twaddle Tendency – Tendency to just talk on and on without thinking about whether the person who is listening cares.
  • Getting influenced by alcohol or drugs – Ever seen a drunk guy try to drive?
  • Contrast Principle – Real estate agents will show homebuyers two classy and expensive houses and then show them a slightly less expensive house to influence them to buy the last house.

On Dealing with Stress and Anxiety:

 20 min meditation!: http://www.diydharma.org/metta-meditation-sharon-salzberg

 Lastly and Most Importantly On Intuition:

Everyone has oceans to fly if they have the heart to do it. It is reckless, maybe? But what do your dreams know of boundaries? – Amelia Earhart

Trust your heart, especially if you have a strong one. In one word, be a saint. She makes you brave, honest, and happy. Virtue is real. She makes us love the living and remember the dead. –Baltasar Gracian, The Art of Worldly Wisdom

 Works Cited:

The Stoic: 9 Principles to Help You Keep Calm in Chaos

Poor Charlie’s Almanack by Charlie Munger

Damn Right by Janet Lowe

The Daily Stoic by Ryan Holiday

The Art of Worldly Wisdom by Baltasar Gracian

Influence by Robert Cialdini

The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch

Charlie Munger’s Speech on the Psychology of Human Misjudgment: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pqzcCfUglws