Just a little rant here: philosophy classes turn off many college students for a simple reason — they never get around to saying how philosophy can shake your living. Some classes might teach more on “how to think philosophically,” or “here are the old philosophers.” Some may speak to ethics or arguments, logic or some other esoteric area. But how to live, day-to-day? That is often lost to the student.
(By they way, I would offer this as an issue with much of theology, too. Lots of talk about what not to do, what God (or gods) might be like, and how to judge how others live… but not so much clarity on living day-to-day. But that is a rant for another day!)
Anyway, philosophy, as originally taught in ancient days, was exactly for deciding how to live. How should you act, feel, and think? As different schools of philosophy might point out, that all depends upon your basic ideas of what a meaningful life might be.
Sometimes, we are already acting in ways that point to our idea of meaning, even without a philosophical basis. I think of this as our “natural philosophy” — how we have made sense of the world.
After my first book, many people asked if I was a Stoic. At that time, I had only a passing concept of that philosophy. Just one of those old schools of philosophy from a bygone age. But after hearing it a number of times, I started investigating. Sure enough, much of my approach to living day-to-day was Stoic. Huh.
Then, I started finding others that had this same experience. One of those is Vitaliy Katsenelson. He is the CEO of an investment company. But his story goes back to his family’s immigration to the United States, from Russia, when Vitaliy was a child. He was old enough to still remember those memories of a dying USSR (and to hold onto a bit of an accent), but young enough to find his way through American culture.
After writing several books on investing (including the psychology of investing), Vitaliy took to talking about life. Not just professional life. But other areas of life. Art, music, chess, and family life were grist for the mill of exploring meaning.
This led to Vitaliy’s latest book, Soul In The Game. While in the process of writing, Vitaliy stumbled upon Stoic thought and found a new home there. He incorporates that into this book, to further his exploration into the meaningful life (a slightly different question than the meaning of life).
I had a chance to sit down and chat with Vitaliy about a wide range of issues and topics, all related to how life becomes meaningful, and how to find that meaning. Listen to this episode of the Thriveology Podcast to find out more.