Thursday, January 26, 2012

Know Thyself

In my high school, senior year of English class, for whatever reason, I recall that our English teacher told us that the Greek temple at Delphi had two maxims carved into the stone.  "Know Thyself." and "Nothing in Excess."  He explained that these two philosophies formed the core of Greek philosophy and living.  I also have no idea if that is true or if he made it up. (A quick Google search reveals... it is certainly a popular belief, although not grounded in historical fact.  So, he didn't make it up.)

At any rate, that came to mind when I saw this post, The Ten Golden Rules of Living the Good Life, by Panos Mourdoukoutas

In sum, he suggests:

1. Examine life, engage life with vengeance; always search for new pleasures and new destines to reach with your mind.
2. Worry only about the things that are in your control, the things that can be influenced and changed by your actions, not about the things that are beyond your capacity to direct or alter.
3. Treasure Friendship, the reciprocal attachment that fills the need for affiliation.   
4. Experience True Pleasure. Avoid shallow and transient pleasures. Keep your life simple.
5. Master Yourself. Resist any external force that might delimit thought and action; stop deceiving yourself, believing only what is personally useful and convenient; complete liberty necessitates a struggle within, a battle to subdue negative psychological and spiritual forces that preclude a healthy existence; self mastery requires ruthless candor
6. Avoid Excess. Live life in harmony and balance. 
7. Be a Responsible Human Being.    
8. Don't be a Prosperous Fool.
9. Don’t Do Evil to Others.
10. Kindness towards others tends to be rewarded.

Rules 5 and 6 are basically the Delphi inscriptions (at least as related by my high school English teacher).  While I realize they may not contain any groundbreaking philosophy, it did make me think about goals, living and ways to maximize the experience.  As conflicting goals and the demands on time pile up (and change over time), it is always helpful to have a reminder of some basic tenets of leading the good life.  I suppose I could wax on poetically about this, and quote a couple of other motivational things that are probably pretty unique to me (the end of Saving Private Ryan, anyone? Epictetus?), but at the end of the day, the rules don't make the call.  We all do in our everyday choices.

So for me, running is baked into life and choices and a way to live and balance.  It is important, but so are lots of other things.

Hope you have a great run!


  1. All good advice, many seemingly so simple, yet so hard to follow sometimes.

  2. One of the rules that have had a tremendous impact on my life recently is number 2. Trying to juggle around time between what I need to do verses what I have to do can be tricky. Thanks for sharing this. Take care.

  3. An unexamined life is not worth living! Great suggestions.

    So glad you were rooting for Adrienne. Thanks for the positive vibes!

  4. I admit I wish I could spend more time on running (and running blogs!). Some things (like my family) clearly and easily come ahead of that, but other things that *should* come ahead of that (like my, um, paying job) are hard to concentrate on when I'd rather be running or reading about running. This list is a good reminder!

  5. I think as runners, we get so absorbed in running and reading about running that we forget about our other passions sometimes. I was reading a non-running book the other day and thought how much I'd rather read about running. Ha. But as I kept going, I eventually got wrapped up in the book and I need to learn to do that in other areas, too! Thanks for the great reminder!


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