11
   

What should I do to improve my life?

 
 
Reply Tue 10 Apr, 2012 03:02 am

I'm a 16/17 year old girl who doesn't have many friends but im not looking for popularity so it doesn't bother me that much - im doing my a levels this year and revision is not going well at all - I just get distracted the whole time and I'm actually really disappointed in myself - so I've kind of made a promise to myself - I will work as hard as possible these two weeks before he new term starts.

I want to study philosophy in uni - I haven't read much recently but I love it and I find it absolutely fascinating. I haven't read much though repentantly since I've been preoccupied with reading the hunger games instead.

I know this may sound lame to you but I want to find myself- or create myself. But I don't really know where to begin or what to do. How does one develop oneself?

I don't want life to just slip by... I agree that ' The unexamined life is not worth living.'

Any ideas? Would really appreciate ur help.
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Type: Question • Score: 11 • Views: 2,313 • Replies: 27
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Fil Albuquerque
 
  1  
Reply Tue 10 Apr, 2012 03:08 am
@michelleyy,
Be truthful to your own nature is a simple saying that fully applies...the fact is that such answer only you can come to learn...now you have started quite well as examine your life everyday of it is the best possible place to be about it...
0 Replies
 
fresco
 
  2  
Reply Tue 10 Apr, 2012 08:57 am
@michelleyy,
Firstly, since you are doing A-levels, I'm assuming you are British. You should be aware therefore that a philosophy degree will limit your job prospects in the U.K. so if "improvement of your life" involves salary, you need to think about it. A psychology degree is perhaps a good marketable alternative provided that you study it at a traditional university, and you could take philosophy as a subsidiary. However, you are likely to learn more about yourself by simply living away from home than you would by studying any particular subject. Indeed reading good literature can be more enlightening than any formal study. Eventually, you might come to understand that "self" is largely a function of "relationship with others", and also that a "unified self" is perhaps a myth.

Perhaps you might have a word with Pentacle Queen on this matter, since she seems to be on a personal discovery journey.
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Tue 10 Apr, 2012 09:31 am
@michelleyy,
And do keep in mind--and this is from a man whose life is in its last phase--the unlived life is not worth examining. Find out what "turns you on" and spend more time with it than you do with the things that provide security, recognition, and distraction. And try to transcend as much as possible the need for recognition--except from your children and very good friends.
By all means read good literature to deepen your emotional life.
And to see the nature of your self consider the benefits of daily meditation (perhaps with a group), a wonderful hygenic and nutritous practice.
0 Replies
 
Ding an Sich
 
  2  
Reply Tue 10 Apr, 2012 04:13 pm
@michelleyy,
The best thing to do is interact with others. This can be done via reading, conversing, emailing, etc.

An individual is not merely some lone subject waiting to be discovered or created; it is a process and a connection of relations between other entities. Or something like that. Very Happy

Well, that's my philosophical thought of the day.


0 Replies
 
Cyracuz
 
  1  
Reply Wed 11 Apr, 2012 04:32 am
@michelleyy,
Some good advice here already.
You say you are 16 or 17 years old. My advice is live your life. If you are interested in philosophy that can help enhance your experience if you don't let that interest interfere with living in favor of analyzing life.
Your interest in philosophy may serve as a powerful tool when you are faced with tough decisions. The ability to methodically identify and solve problems that arise is a skill philosophy gives excellent training to. It may give you an advantage.
0 Replies
 
vikorr
 
  1  
Reply Wed 11 Apr, 2012 02:55 pm
@michelleyy,
Quote:
I know this may sound lame to you but I want to find myself- or create myself. But I don't really know where to begin or what to do. How does one develop oneself?
This seems to be the central question you have.

I agree with everyone regarding you learn a lot about yourself by taking yourself out of your comfort zone (so living on your own, getting a new job, learning new skills, socialising more, challenging yourself to something difficult etc). This is an active way of learning about yourself, as well as developing yourself.

I think it very interesting that you used the term 'create yourself'. I don't see many people ascribing to this.

I think the most important place to start - is with awareness & self awareness. I think this is the most important place to start, because all of us have a large pool of self-deceptions we tell ourselves...so if you wish to recreate yourself, there is little point doing so by building on self deceptions. I quite liked 'Awareness' by Anthony De Mello. A short, and very easy to read book.

An understanding of self-deception is also necessary in order to face your fears, and overcome them. A vast number of our discomforts, aversions etc are actually born out of fear. Most (not all) times we get angry - fear is the root cause. Much of our lack of practicing new skills, can be born out of fear of 'looking stupid' etc.

Secondly, and to me just as importantly - always practice what you learn. In practicing :
- you'll discover if the 'teaching' is for you or not
- you'll gain a greater understanding of how the 'theory' works, and it's applications etc
- you'll train the skill/belief/movement/structure into yourself (all skills are habitual, as are all beliefs, all values, all morals etc.)
- you'll discover refinements (you can never stop discovering refinements, I think)
------------------------------------------
Other things people use to recreate themselves include hypnosis / NLP / meditation (and even rarer, dreams). Hmmm, also some swear by 'creative visualisation', mirror work, affirmations etc.
-----------------------------------------
I also notice a tendancy that becoming extremely good/expert/the best in one area of life (or a particular skill) trains certain qualities into you / gives you insight. Some people are able to transport those qualities / insight across different aspects of life, while others aren't.
--------------------------------------
In terms of 'creating' yourself - I think it important to understand about your subconscious (no one fully understands, but there are plenty of books out there on it. I boil it down to 'habit & intuition', or 'attachment & creativeness')

...because of 'habit' being a very large part of our lives, I think we can to a rather large extent, 'build' or 'create' ourselves.

Others here disagree with me, and that is fine.

Numerous different thoughts on the same topic - I hope some of it helps.
0 Replies
 
firefly
 
  1  
Reply Fri 13 Apr, 2012 12:42 pm
@michelleyy,
Quote:
I know this may sound lame to you but I want to find myself- or create myself. But I don't really know where to begin or what to do. How does one develop oneself?


Just the normal process of living, and continuing to develop, over the next 10 or so years will help you to find yourself, or to create the person you want to be. It's part of the process of moving from adolescence to adulthood, and it usually happens quite naturally. I don't think you have to do anything special, just follow your interests and see where they lead.

Going to university will be a great learning experience for you--both socially and academically--if you take advantage of everything it has to offer. Be open to new experiences, meeting new people, have an open mind, and maintain an insatiable curiosity to learn as much as possible about everything. If you do that, you don't have to worry that life will slip you by--you won't let it.

vikorr
 
  1  
Reply Fri 13 Apr, 2012 07:21 pm
@firefly,
Quote:
Just the normal process of living, and continuing to develop, over the next 10 or so years will help you to find yourself, or to create the person you want to be. It's part of the process of moving from adolescence to adulthood, and it usually happens quite naturally. I don't think you have to do anything special, just follow your interests and see where they lead.

I both agree with this, and disagree with it in many ways.

It certainly does occur naturally, and from that point of view, doesn't require huge amounts of effort beyond socialising and testing your boundaries.

.. but more accurately I think that when it occurs 'naturally' - it occurs largely haphazardly, and only partly by conscious creation. The problem with it being largely haphazard is that you aren't conscious about what you allow to become 'you'...and many things that you allow to become a part of you don't serve you.

I also think that people ignore 'creating' in themselves systems / beliefs etc that will serve them well when creating themselves further. Or said in another way - most people don't seem to pay enough attention to their foundations, instead often going straight for the ornamentation, and I don't think this method serves us as well, long term.
firefly
 
  1  
Reply Fri 13 Apr, 2012 10:18 pm
@vikorr,
Quote:
but more accurately I think that when it occurs 'naturally' - it occurs largely haphazardly, and only partly by conscious creation

Just because something occurs naturally doesn't mean that it is at all haphazard, or out of conscious awareness.

As one moves from the teen years into early adulthood, a great of goal setting takes place, both short term and long term goals--educational goals, career goals, social goals, etc. All of that requires a great deal of sorting out, as well as the formation of values and priorities, and a differentiation of the self from whatever parental influences came before that time. That's often quite a conscious process, and the movement toward the greater independence of adulthood is what helps it to occur more naturally--all of those choices are helping to shape the person, and the process of making those choices helps the person to discover themself and what's important to them.

I also think that the academic experience of going through college or university is very important--the exposure to new material and areas of knowledge, the learning to think critically, the opportunity to develop creatively, the influence of inspiring professors--it all adds to the shaping of the person, how well they are able to think and assimilate, how much of the culture they can connect with, and understand, and appreciate, what values resonate with them-- it's a time of great self discovery and foundation building.

And, obviously, the social experiences and social contacts during those university years similarly help to shape personal development, enhance self awareness, and stimulate the formation of still more values.

I think that michelleyy will find that the next decade of her life will provide her with so many new experiences, and important choices and decisions, and so many different and interesting things to consider and think about, that the process of creating and discovering her own identity will come about rather naturally if she makes herself open to all of it and reflects on all of it. It's a very exciting time of life--it's all about self discovery.







vikorr
 
  1  
Reply Sat 14 Apr, 2012 03:43 am
@firefly,
vikorr wrote:
but more accurately I think that when it occurs 'naturally' - it occurs largely haphazardly, and only partly by conscious creation


firefly wrote:
Just because something occurs naturally doesn't mean that it is at all haphazard, or out of conscious awareness.
firefly wrote:
As one moves from the teen years into early adulthood, a great of goal setting takes place, both short term and long term goals--educational goals, career goals, social goals, etc. All of that requires a great deal of sorting out, as well as the formation of values and priorities, and a differentiation of the self from whatever parental influences came before that time. That's often quite a conscious process, and the movement toward the greater independence of adulthood is what helps it to occur more naturally--all of those choices are helping to shape the person, and the process of making those choices helps the person to discover themself and what's important to them.

I also think that the academic experience of going through college or university is very important--the exposure to new material and areas of knowledge, the learning to think critically, the opportunity to develop creatively, the influence of inspiring professors--it all adds to the shaping of the person, how well they are able to think and assimilate, how much of the culture they can connect with, and understand, and appreciate, what values resonate with them-- it's a time of great self discovery and foundation building.

And, obviously, the social experiences and social contacts during those university years similarly help to shape personal development, enhance self awareness, and stimulate the formation of still more values.

I think that michelleyy will find that the next decade of her life will provide her with so many new experiences, and important choices and decisions, and so many different and interesting things to consider and think about, that the process of creating and discovering her own identity will come about rather naturally if she makes herself open to all of it and reflects on all of it. It's a very exciting time of life--it's all about self discovery.

Hi Firefly - I separated you post into two quotes for a reason.

I understand what you are saying, and university plays a large part in forming a persons outlook...but it is ONLY a 3-4 years (generally). The greater part of life is still to come...and generally the greatest influences, have already occurred.

Yes, as people move into adulthood they have to make many conscious decisions - and even many of those conscious decisions are driven by past influences...and then people face adulthood and old age . To my way of thinking, many people 'die' (or start 'dying') long before they reach old age.

Also people are influenced by many mediums that they aren't particularly conscious of. A few include : parents, siblings, peer groups, TV, Music, sexual drive, conflict, embarrasments, failures, emotional hurts, criticisms, rejections, exclusion, numerous fears.

The way a person reacts to any particular circumstance has a great deal of habit, and usually - very little training...but informal influences that shaped their lives.

Also, have a look at how much a persons counrty / culture / religion / family / socio-economic environment helps shape a very high percentage of peoples lives...that the percentage is so high suggests less conscious creation and more 'haphazard / unconscious / limited conscious choice' in the creation of people

Then we have peoples habits - very few of them are consciously created (and habit forms an ENORMOUS part of our lives)

Then, if you've ever looked into self-deception, you would realise just how many lies we tell ourselves...but if you consciously create - you don't need to lie to yourself.

If you then look into peoples fears - you would realise just how many we have (self deception keeps us rather unaware of a lot of them). The vast majority of fears that we possess work counter to conscious creation. When we choose to consciously create, we become much more effective at it once we identify our fears, negotiate them into an emotional form that serves us, and then consciously create.

Yes, I agree what you mentioned helps shape a person, and I also think such is, in the scheme of 'the overall person'l only a small part of what makes that person. The greater part of probably every person alive, wasn't created consciously...
0 Replies
 
The Pentacle Queen
 
  1  
Reply Sun 15 Apr, 2012 05:22 am
@michelleyy,
Hey Michele,
My advice would be to maybe take a gap year before uni, work and do some traveling, and then head off. Philosophy is an awesome subject, but as someone has pointed out before there aren't too many jobs that lead directly from it, also in its pure form it is rather relentless. However, philosophical thinking is a large part of scholarship and most degrees anyway, and since you'll get to chose a lot of what you'll be doing, you can build it in where you like. I did music but wrote lots of essays that included lots of philosophy.
I'd definitely advocate going to university, it's where most people who weren't too keen on school meet people that they can finally identify with. I would say, though, that you should definitely consider the city you end up in because there are a lot more going on in certain cities than others, I was in London for my first degree, which was ******* awesome, other good cities are Manchester, Southampton, York, Edinburgh, Leeds, Bristol, Brighton. I'm at Cambridge for my second degree and although it's really pretty it's so ******* dull, other 'dull' cities are Royal Holloway (it's in a tiny village called Egam that definitely wouldn't even exist if it wasn't for RH), Exeter is dull, Winchester looks pretty dull, Kent, Durham; go big not small.
Basically, the only way you'll 'become yourself' is by trying lots of new things, meeting new people, and filtering all the crap you don't like out. Traveling is a good experience for that, as is university, but choose a good city so you don't box yourself in. London is the only place in my opinion, I was a totally different person within a year.
0 Replies
 
tag
 
  1  
Reply Sun 15 Apr, 2012 11:47 am
@fresco,
i'm 18, British, and also going to study philosophy at university and all my teachers, university lecturers, and adults I know that interview and employ people say is that philosophy is extremely sought after. it develops all the skills you need for a job, besides, unless you want to me a doctor, or engineer or whatever, you dont need a specific degree anyway - just A degree.

here's an article from the guardian arguing the same:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2007/nov/20/choosingadegree.highereducation

it has a cartesian pun so it must be good.
fresco
 
  1  
Reply Sun 15 Apr, 2012 11:55 am
@tag,
Note that that article is 5 years old (i.e. largely pre-recession)

Where are you thinking of studying ?
0 Replies
 
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Sun 15 Apr, 2012 01:20 pm
I strongly recommend that you choose a major that will strengthen you as a person. Majors that serve only to train you for making a living while leaving you unchanged are of considerably less value--from my perspective at least. An interesting life lived by an interested (and perhaps interesting) person is a successful life. Such a life is more likely to be the result of majors like philosophy, social anthropology, humanistic psychology, literature and the arts. Engineering, business, and other such practical preparations for making money are not without value, of course. But "earning a living" will always rest on luck and factors beyond your control. "Earn a life" through the cultivation of your mind and heart.
vikorr
 
  1  
Reply Sun 15 Apr, 2012 04:29 pm
@JLNobody,
I like your thoughts JL, although I will point out that you can go to uni, learn a degree that earns you a living, and still go about developing who you are Smile
Chumly
 
  1  
Reply Sun 15 Apr, 2012 06:11 pm
@michelleyy,
Hi michelleyy,
learn to play a musical instrument, it will open up avenues!
Cheers,
Chum

Oh, and I very much disagree that the pseudo-sciences, soft-sciences and arts are superior to the hard-sciences, mathematics and physics in terms of the potential for personal discovery.
0 Replies
 
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Sun 15 Apr, 2012 06:47 pm
@vikorr,
Absolutely, some of the most cultivated people I know are autodidacts. They've educated themselves INFORMALLY in the arts, literature, philosophy, etc. without the benefit of FORMAL education.
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Sun 15 Apr, 2012 06:51 pm
@vikorr,
I count as one of my blessings the fact that I've played the violin for 67 years. It's help me to enjoy a very successful retirement.
0 Replies
 
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Sun 15 Apr, 2012 06:51 pm
@vikorr,
I count as one of my blessings the fact that I've played the violin for 67 years. It's help me to enjoy a very successful retirement.
 

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