Personal Growth

Personal Growth


Is the Fear of Death Rational and Appropriate?

fear of death September 15th, 2021

Epicurus (341-271 BCE) put forth an argument centuries ago that still retains much appeal and boasts some notable adherents (e.g., Rosenbaum, 1986). His thesis was that the actual occurrence of death (as distinguished from any possible afterlife or the act of dying) was not a bad thing, and thus the great anxiety our fear of death brings many people is unwarranted. He did admit that “being alive is generally good.” Epicurus believed that no post-mortem experience was likely, and that we never really know death because where we are, it isn’t, and where it is, we aren’t. It is appealing, but though it contains a meritorious theoretical/cognitive technique to stave off anxiety, I believe that Epicurus’ argument is somewhat shallow and incomplete, it doesn’t quite stand up to scrutiny.

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Engaging in Socratic Dialogue

Socratic dialogue August 27th, 2021

There is something called Socratic dialogue. Essentially, two individuals engage in a conversation – a dialectic, as it is known – and they try to figure out the nature of the question and try to formulate an answer that is logical, rational, true, and correct. It’s not easy, but it is probably better to have a knowledgeable person work in concert with you if you are trying to figure out truth. This takes wisdom, obviously. Though it is not quite ready to be “an app,” there is something about the Socratic method that can be learned and useful to an individual even sans interlocutor, if you will. Thus, I will share with you my notes on what Socratic dialogue is all about. May it lead you one step closer to wisdom!

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“Values of the Wise”: What Does This Mean?

Values of the Wise logo August 12th, 2021

The goal of Values of the Wise (the company) is to bring to life ancient wisdom and progressive thinking. This is done through books, online tools and resources, quotations, social networking, and the like. But what are “the values of the wise?” What does the phrase actually mean? I am Jason Merchey, the founder and originator of the concept, and I will be happy to explain what I think it means.

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Quotes About Passion and Enthusiasm

passion July 24th, 2021

If you are excited about life, passionate about yourself and your future, and enthusiastic about your job and your interests, you probably are living in a way that the wise would counsel. Life is long, and it can be very difficult to go through the motions if your heart isn’t in it. Those who experience a joie de vivre more days than not are probably not only happier, but more successful. You might have heard the famous inventor and scientist Thomas Edison wrote: “Success is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration.” That’s a wonderful way to encapsulate the fact that having an idea is important, but the follow-through, the work required to make a novel plan come to fruition, is where the wheat is separated from the chaff. What follows are a dozen inspirational quotations that can help inspire the kind of gusto required to get stuff done, create new approaches to problems, and stick to a task until it’s complete.

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The Values I Bring to My Work

the values I bring to my work July 18th, 2021

You have heard of the “Protestant work ethic”, I imagine. Or, “Diligence is the mother of good luck.” The Hard Rock Cafe’s motto is “Love Ever; Hurt Never”. “Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise” claimed Benjamin Franklin. The fable of “The Ant and the Grasshopper” by Aesop teaches the value of hard work and earnestness. I, too, have values I bring to my work as a real estate investor. Some I aspire to; some I adhere to better than others; some I actualize on a daily basis. Most would probably fit into the scheme I call “the values of the wise“: values that the quintessential wise person would probably tend to have. My area of professional focus has for a decade been real estate investing (REI). Brian Buffini believes that “Real estate is the purest form of entrepreneurship” so here are some thoughts on the values I bring to my work as an investor:

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American Treasure: Helen Keller’s Values

Helen Keller July 3rd, 2021

In this day and age of political unrest, questionable media, and discrepant values, it is a breath of fresh air to read the beautiful words of optimism and understanding. I am referring to the wonderful woman and hero of girls and handicapped individuals everywhere, Helen Keller. She evolved from someone who truly knew hardship and adversity to one who successfully focused her time and energy into the worthy pursuits of growth, happiness, love, and compromise. She pushed her own (and society’s) boundaries and became someone great. Who was Helen, and what can we learn from her?

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The Power of Positivity, Optimism & Enthusiasm

positivity May 15th, 2021

Hara Marano, in a Psychology Today article, notes that psychological researchers seem to feel that human beings have a pull toward the dark, upsetting, and disturbing: a “negativity bias.” Perhaps indeed our brains are wired to focus on, feel, and resonate with negative events such as slights, insults, and crises. It is probable that positivity feels good, but negativity really engages the brain to mount coping mechanisms. Well, so be it. The fact is that overcoming that negativity bias and engaging in optimistic thinking, glass-half-full mindsets, and hopeful action are better for us. Gratitude and mindfulness are better ways of being. Just as eating too much food or prejudice are remnants of our evolutionary past, but are not typically helpful in our modern age, having a negative attitude and “sweating the small stuff” probably isn’t as adaptive or functional as “the power of positivity.” Herein you will find many inspirational quotes about optimism, sanguineness, and positivity.

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Existentialism: Authenticity vs. ‘Bad Faith’

authenticity March 1st, 2021

In a prior post entitled “Existentialism, Humanism, Responsibility, and Freedom,” I examined meaning in life, Jean-Paul Sartre, existence, etc. In this blog, I would like to go a little further toward examining authenticity vs. the idea of “bad faith.” It will hopefully generate more light than it does heat as far as living one’s life with success, passion, deliberateness, and insight. As always, wisdom is about the highest goal, and happiness is not far behind. 

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Review of Ch. One: “In Defense of a Liberal Education”

liberal education February 11th, 2021

Liberal education is not typically prized by parents. “What you are not supposed to do is study the liberal arts. Around the world, the idea of a broad-based ‘liberal’ education is closely tied with the United States and its great universities and colleges. But in America itself, a liberal education is out of favor.” This is a sad and even ironic state of affairs. In the wonderful, well-researched, short but stout book In Defense of a Liberal Education, noted columnist and historian Fareed Zakaria, called “the most influential foreign policy advisor of his generation” by Esquire, laments that the humanities are no longer as popular as they were in America’s more prosperous decades. As manufacturing is under severe threat and jobs are increasingly lost to foreign countries or automation, Zakaria maintains that “to succeed today, you need creativity, lateral thinking, communication skills, and, more than anything, the ability to keep learning – precisely the gifts of a liberal education.” What follows is a summary and review of chapter one of this engaging book.

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Inspiring Quotations for Overcoming Adversity

inspiring quotations February 8th, 2021

Have you ever been stuck in a rut? How about feeling like you were on the ropes, as it were? Down, but not yet out? We all have experienced that feeling. It’s just part of being human. Ideally, we pull ourselves up by our bootstraps, keep our chin up, keep a stiff upper lip and other illustrative idioms! It can be a bit off-putting to look up motivation, personal growth, and inspiring quotations on the web because it’s a crowded space where gurus, self-help experts, and personal coaches vie for your attention. One way to shut out all the noise when it comes to self-growth, perseverance, and finding the will to keep moving are by quietly researching and reflecting on inspirational quotes. Life-long learning, if you will. Here are some of my favorite inspiring quotations on dealing with failures, setbacks, and problems in life:

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