Maybe you’re having a difficult time in your relationship. Or work has worn you down. Maybe things have gone exceedingly well in your business and now you’re dealing with opportunities you never thought possible. Or you’re trying to figure out what to do with your life. Or trying to figure out how to help your kid—who has struggled for a long time now—to figure out what to do with their life.
These are tough situations. Just a sample of what the days can throw at us...on top of all the things the world likes to throw at us, from economic instability to brutal wars, to snarling traffic and bafflingly incompetent governance.
Solving all these problems is probably impossible. Which is why most of us would likely settle for their proper management or at least some amount of pain reduction. The good news is that this stop gap remedy is readily at hand. It’s just a book or a letter or a lecture away. As Seneca writes:
“Would you really know what philosophy offers to humanity? Philosophy offers counsel.”
For thousands of years, the wisest minds have been offering counsel and wisdom to those who seek it out, those who go forth to look for it. Will you be one of those people? Or will you keep doing things the way you’ve always done them? Will you endure the same trials just hoping one day they will magically change? Will you stick to your own guidance? Or will you let those wise minds help you out?
Your problems—our problems—are not new. They are not different. They are the same things humans have always struggled with, just dressed up in modern language and contemporary garb. They fall neatly in the same category that problems have always fallen into (what’s in our control and what isn’t), which means they present the same opportunities that every problem offers (to become better for it...or worse for it), and require the same virtues that all problems require (justice, temperance, wisdom, courage). 2
Fortunately, a guide for this gauntlet exists and has for thousands of years: Philosophy. It offers counsel. It offers you help. But only if you avail yourself of it. If you make use of it...and actually listen.