CAREER ADVANCEMENT / JUL. 25, 2014
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How to Make the Most Out of Socrates Way of Living

 **Editor Note: Original Title "How to make the most out of Socrates way of living"

The great philosopher Socrates questioned everything. In fact, Socrates felt the best way to learn was to become proactive about the learning process. Becoming proactive meant that the learner should ask questions about a problem to find its root, identify different perspectives, and find solutions through critical and creative thinking. This type of instruction is called the “Socratic Method” and has become the prominent teaching method of the most prestigious universities across the world.

Socrates Educational Philosophies

  • Wisdom begins by admitting your own ignorance
  • Self-knowledge is the ultimate virtue
  • Individuals can arrive at truth through questioning

How to Apply Socrates Philosophies in the Workplace

According to the Socratic Method, the first step to true knowledge is admitting ignorance. For some of us who have been working hard at our trade, this step seems to be the most difficult to tackle. But to get past this, you must realize that continued learning is the key to a successful and productive career. Even though some projects or problems at work may seem menial or redundant at times, always continue to question. Complacence is the mother of failure.

Self- knowledge refers to two separate yet equally important ideas; one, we must be self-aware to know and analyze how we learn best; two, we must understand that we don’t know everything there is to know about our field. For example, Socrates felt that those who were immoral were not bad, they just weren’t self aware; hence, they didn’t understand how to learn from their mistakes due to either arrogance or insanity. Though most of us are quite sane, the very definition of insanity is repeating the same mistake over and over again due to the belief that there is only one singular path to wisdom, our own.

Socrates felt the path to truth and wisdom was through questioning. When approached with a problem, ask questions like “why does this happen?” What are alternative perspectives?” and “Where is the opposition coming from?” Simply stating an issue does not offer a solution. Get involved, converse with your team, find truth through deep critical thought.

Another very important lesson we can learn from Socrates is how to harness our self-confidence without coming across as arrogant. Socrates felt that self-awareness coupled with self-certainty can enhance healthy, usable self-confidence. The only way to reach your inner truth about self-confidence is to give way to your inner logic. Trusting the answers to the questions you pose during learning or problem solving can and will help you boost your self-confidence in a meaningful, non-arrogant way.

Socratic Method is said to be the father of the trusted Scientific method which is the staple problem solving method used in law and the humanities, making Socrates one of the most important philosophers of western thought. Steve Jobs once said that he would trade every technological idea he ever had for just one day with Socrates. The truth is, Socrates’ way of thinking can not only help you to advance your career through critical thinking and logical deduction; it can help you gain a self-awareness that can help you through problems in daily life.

 

Image via DeviantArt

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