“To find out what one is fitted to do, and to secure an opportunity to do it, is the key to happiness.”– John Dewey
“The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.”– Frederick Buechner
“The fact remains that the overwhelming majority of people who have become wealthy have become so thanks to work they found profoundly absorbing. The long term study of people who eventually became wealthy clearly reveals that their ‘luck’ arose from accidental dedication they had to an arena they enjoyed.”– Srully Blotnick
The Ancient Greek aphorism “Know thyself” (Greek: γνώθι σεαυτόν or gnothi seauton) was inscribed in golden letters at the lintel of the entrance to the Temple of Apollo at Delphi.
In order to understand the above statement well, it will be a good idea for me to shed a little light on some of the terms used in it.
Ancient Greek, this is a time in greek history, 1000 years before christianity. Historians are unaminous that the greek culture was the foundation of the western civilization.
Aphorisms, are concise statements of fact that were made as a result of experience. Axioms are similar statements that come from mere reason and require no proof, while aphorisms are developed based on experience. E.g “A stitch in time, saves nine”
Delphi, was known in ancient mythology to be the centre of the earth.
Temple of Apollo, This is believed to have the makings of an ancient university. Apollo was a god, who had strengths in poetry, medicine, and music. He was the most versatile and most skilled, in greek mythology, of the gods. In entering the Temple of Apollo, you come to interact with knowledge, the reason why you come in, is to know!
Now imagine you are at the entrance into the doors that lead to discovery, to knowledge and perhaps skill. What will you expect to see as a sign on the door? I’ll guess it will be a message telling you about the best attitude to have as a student, or an instruction that will help you make use of all you hear, won’t you? Interestingly, it is the aphorism -“Know thyself”
The first class in the school of knowledge is self awareness! If you don’t know who you are, and what you have, education is useless. The first thing you must know to be teachable is yourself. True education must be targeted first at personal discovery then personal development. “Know thyself!”
If you ever watched the blockburster -“Matrix”. There was a time when Neo had to go visit the oracle, to know if he was the one, to know what the future will be. Can you imagine the sign on the Oracles door? …….Yeah, you guessed right! “Know thyself” -Only it was writen in greek! The future responds only to those who have come to understand themselves. There is a stage for trial and error, typically it’s before you are 21! The Hebrews celebrate the 21st birthday as the age to announce your self discovery! It might be late for you, but it’s never too late until you are the late. “Know thyself”.
Your passions, your talents, your values and the things that give you a sense of destiny! You must know them. Help yourself and find help. There are many gates ahead that will lead into the worlds of your dreams, but the first criteria to enter is simple – “Know thyself”. It is the secret of happiness, it’s the source of true fulfillment. It’s the only way to enjoy your labor.
“Why do you spend … your labor for that which does not satisfy?”– Isaiah 55:1-2