What you do not know about your life philosophy, or worldview, could be sabotaging your vitality in life and could actually be causing you significant problems. In today's world, where the saying goes "What is true for you is not necessarily true for me", it is hard to know that the life philosophy that you follow will not lead to significant problems. How do you know that the ideals that you hold will not cause you more problems than you already have? Let me submit to you five principals that could help you evaluate what you believe about life to determine if it will hold up when you need it the most.
First, is it a philosophy that you can build on as a life framework? A lot of people these days tend to compartmentalize their ethics between how they have at work and how they have at home. However, when you do this it causes you to violate what you say you believe. For example, you believe it is important to never lie to your friends or family, but at work you see it as okay to lie to prospective customers or business associates to compete in an unforgiving marketplace. On one hand you believe lying is okay; on the other it is wrong. Occasionally, someone may catch you in a lie at work and your friends hear about it. They will wonder if you ever lie to them, despite your professed commitment to honesty. The seeds of distrust are planted.
Second, are your daily decisions guided by your life philosophy? Many people will profess that they believe something to be true, yet will act as if it is not true. It amazes me how many people will adopt a philosophy because it is the popular thing to do and they want to fit in and be accepted. However, when push comes to shove they will not act according to that belief. For example, they may hold tolerance as a high value, respecting what others believe and maybe even considering every person's personal take on what is true as equally valid. Yet, when someone appears to be an intolerant, they hold tolerance as an absolute truth that must be applied to that person, violating their own principle of tolerance. This destroys your credibility in what you believe. You appear to be giving lip service to a standard you do not follow yourself, and lose the respect of others.
Third, are your beliefs reliable? Have they stood the test of time? When you look at the roots of the philosophy of life you follow, where did it originate? What became of the people who started it? Are there historical documents and evidence that attest to the reliability of that philosophy? Can your philosophy withstand the challenge of an opposing philosophy and still be valid? Can you apply your philosophy to a current issue and follow it to its logical conclusion with a successful result? There are always times when we must defend what we believe to be true. Are you ready to defend your philosophy? If you are not, a serious challenge could throw you into a personal crisis and cause you to question everything, destroy relationships, and possibly turn your life upside down.
Fourth, does your life philosophy give you a purpose in life? Are you excited to get up in the morning and live out what you believe? Does it offer you a sense of where you came from and where you are going? If not, you could be adopting a belief system that is hopeless in the end. A philosophy of life must give you hope, or you will end up in despair. I believe that I was created by the Creator and that one day I will live with my creator in eternity. That offers me a great sense of hope.
Fifth, does it explain what is wrong with the world and how to address it? If not, what value is it to you? It may be that all it offers you is an excuse to do as you please, right or wrong, and lead you to only making things worse. I believe that humans are seriously flawed because we do not listen to our creator and therefore create our own problems, yet I also believe that creator has provided a solution that allows me to eventually cover all those problems if I follow my creator's instructions.
Examine your philosophy closely and you will find that you may change it for the better. Sometimes you will find that life takes on an entirely new sense of meaning if you consider these five tests. I did, and it completely changed my life. I had to be totally honest with myself and consider that I might have something I got wrong somewhere. I did find my mistakes in my beliefs and changed them. It could work for you too.
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