The value of philosophy

Reason, Purpose, Self-Esteem

I’m not the brightest star in the sky.

Many others have far more knowledge than i do.

Had i been exposed to Ayn Rand’s philosophy when i was in my teens or 20s, and given i absorbed at least the main points, i’m fairly sure my life would have been completely different.

I didn’t fully understand the purpose of work, and i certainly didn’t have the frame for life that Ayn Rand developed.

While i’d heard that you spend most of your life at work so you may as well make it count, this didn’t really sink in.

Your work is there to realise yourself, not just make a living. But you also have to have enough confidence in yourself (self-esteem) to realise you can achieve something of value.

Your work is there to do something useful, to feel a sense of pride and self-respect: that you’ve done a good job and something worthwhile.

Beyond this, you need to actively—not passively—use your nous to be able to do a good job and to develop an understanding of what’s worthwhile and what makes for a job well done.

Going through the motions to get paid is ok for a time, provided the job has value and you still try to do good work. This might be to get through difficult periods, periods of transition and so on, but as a lifetime goal, without investing yourself, there’s not a lot of substance.

That’s not to say your goals shouldn’t change. Your outlook and knowledge change, so of course your goals can change with them.

Also, don’t misunderstand: doing a job well, doing it with thought, really injecting yourself into it, is something you can feel pride and self-respect about.

But if you’re disconnected from your work, aren’t really excelling in it, resent getting up for it, want the day to go quickly, you likely won’t have pride in it, either.

These three elements, of reason (using your head), purpose and confidence (self-esteem) are the foundations of Ayn Rand’s recipe for personal success.

First among them is reason. If you can think about things clearly and logically, then everything follows.

Work is an opportunity to give your life purpose, to apply your reason to its best effect.

And the result of work well done, of achieving something worthwhile, is justifiable (not overbearing) pride.

If only i’d understood those three words— reason, purpose, self-esteem—when i was young, i probably wouldn’t have spent so many years falling in pot holes.

Dear reader, if you happen to be a young person unsure of what comes next, of what to do, you’re confused, have no direction, aren’t clear where to go…

OR if you’re older, but have the same problems, you could potentially gain a windfall with Ayn Rand.

There’s no better time—and there may be no other time if you’re older—to take those issues and confront them head on (that is, with your brain firing).

If you get the basics, she’ll infuse you with purpose, with direction, with a sense of what’s open to you and what you can do.

Then strap yourself in, because you get to spend the rest of your life filling in the blanks in whichever way you choose.

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