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Quotes From Socrates That Are Full Of Wisdom

Quotes From Socrates That Are Full Of Wisdom

Socrates. A Greek philosopher. An enigmatic genius. A genius who gave a whole new norm to the Western philosophy. The standard set by him, his critical reasoning, his view on life and surrounding made him an admirable inspiration to many who came across his teachings, and also had accusers who eventually put him to trial and execution.

Socrates was born circa 470 BC in Athens, Greece. His father was a stone mason and sculptor, and his mother was a midwife. Being an ordinary Athenian, he received a basic Greek education. For many years he worked as a stone mason, before he dedicated his life to philosophy. He was married and had three children, none of whom he cared much of. His rest of the life went on to teach young boys on their intellectual development and their life. He believed in authentic knowledge, rather than only victory over his rival.

He was famous for questioning everything in life and the world. He would accept no vague answers, rather, he would ask only for appropriate account of the nature of the problem. Socrates lived an impoverished life. Despite being such a significant figure in philosophy, he never left a word about himself. Whatever we get to know about him, it was all second-hand. Most of them are from the dialogues of Plato and Xenophon, and the plays of Aristophanes. The dialogues from Plato’s account have to be fairly accurate because the latter himself was a philosopher and had a tendency of including his own theories into dialogues.

Socrates was 70 years old when his trial and execution took place. This was in 399 BC. The trial happened because according to his accusers, Socrates was “refusing to recognise the gods recognised by the state”, and “corrupting the youth”. Because he had an anti-democratic point of view. Because his haters thought Socrates was introducing the youths to new gods. He had three hours to present his case and to defend himself, instead, he presented philosophical ideas which the 500 members of the jury refused to understand. He was also given the option to get exiled from Athens. But he declined the offer. Thus, Socrates was given a cup of poison hemlock to drink. And that made him his own executor.

Here are 30 quotes from Socrates that are full of wisdom.

1. Wisdom begins in wonder.


2. The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.


    3. To know, is to know that you know nothing. That is the meaning of true knowledge.


    4. Be as you wish to seem.

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      5. Education is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel.


        6. Strong minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, weak minds discuss people.


          7. To find yourself, think for yourself.


          8. He who is not contented with what he has, would not be contented with what he would like to have.


            9. Be slow to fall into friendship, but when you are in, continue firm and constant.

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            10. By all means marry; if you get a good wife, you’ll become happy; if you get a bad one, you’ll become a philosopher.


              11. Sometimes you put walls up not to keep people out, but to see who cares enough to break them down.


                12. Let him who would move the world first move himself.


                13. The only good is knowledge and the only evil is ignorance.


                14. Contentment is natural wealth, luxury is artificial poverty.


                15. Do not do to others what angers you if done to you by others.


                16. Every action has its pleasures and its prices.

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                17. We cannot live better than in seeking to become better.


                18. Prefer knowledge to wealth, for the one is transitory, the other perpetual.


                19. Death may be the greatest of all human blessings.


                20. Those who are hardest to love, need it the most.


                21. The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.


                  22. The secret of happiness, you see, is not found in seeking more, but in developing the capacity to enjoy less.


                    23. I know you won’t believe me, but the highest form of human excellence is to question oneself and others.

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                    24. Understanding a question is half an answer.


                    25. Life is full of questions. Idiots are full of answers.


                      26. Employ your time in improving yourself by other men’s writings, so that you shall gain easily what others have labored hard for.


                      27. I cannot teach anyone anything, I can only make them think.


                        28. The unexamined life is not worth living.


                        29. To move the world we must move ourselves.


                        And last, but not the least,

                        30. Know thyself.


                        Featured photo credit: JR Benjamin via jrbenjamin.com

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                        Last Updated on April 6, 2020

                        10 Powerful Ways to Influence People Positively

                        10 Powerful Ways to Influence People Positively

                        Most discussions on positively influencing others eventually touch on Dale Carnegie’s seminal work, How to Win Friends and Influence People. Written more than 83 years ago, the book touches on a core component of human interaction, building strong relationships. It is no wonder why.

                        Everything that we do hinges on our ability to connect with others and formulate deep relationships. You cannot sell a house, buy a house, advance in most careers, sell a product, pitch a story, teach a course, etc. without building healthy relationships. Managers get the best results from their teams, not through brute force, but to careful appeals to their sensibilities, occasional withdrawals from the reservoir of respect they’ve built. Using these tactics, they can influence others to excellence, to productivity, and to success.

                        Carnegie’s book is great. Of course, there are other resources too. Most of us have someone in our lives who positively influences us. The truth is positively influencing people is about centering the humanity of others. Chances are, you know someone who is really good at making others feel like stars. They can get you to do things that the average person cannot. Where the requests of others sound like fingernails on a chalkboard, the request from this special person sounds like music to your ears. You’re delighted to not only listen but also to oblige.

                        So how to influence people in a positive way? Read on for tips.

                        1. Be Authentic

                        To influence people in a positive way, be authentic. Rather than being a carbon copy of someone else’s version of authenticity, uncover what it is that makes you unique.

                        Discover your unique take on an issue and then live up to and honor that. Once of the reasons social media influencers are so powerful is that they have carved out a niche for themselves or taken a common issue and approached it from a novel or uncommon way. People instinctually appreciate people whose public persona matches their private values.

                        Contradictions bother us because we crave stability. When someone professes to be one way, but lives contrary to that profession, it signals that they are confused or untrustworthy and thereby, inauthentic. Neither of these combinations bode well for positively influencing others.

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                        2. Listen

                        Growing up, my father would tell me to listen to what others said. He told me if I listened carefully, I would know all I needed to know about a person’s character, desires and needs.

                        To positively influence others, you must listen to what is spoken and what is left unsaid. Therein lies the explanation for what people need in order to feel validated, supported and seen. If a person feels they are invisible, and unseen by their superiors, they are less likely to be positively influenced by that person.

                        Listening meets a person’s primary need of validation and acceptance.

                        Take a look at this guide on how to be a better listener: How to Practice Active Listening (A Step-By-Step Guide)

                        3. Become an Expert

                        Most people are predisposed to listen to, if not respect, authority. If you want to positively influence others, become an authority in the area in which you seek to lead others. Research and read everything you can about the given topic, and then look for opportunities to put your education into practice.

                        You can argue over opinions. You cannot argue, or it is unwise to argue, over facts and experts come with facts.

                        4. Lead with Story

                        From years of working in the public relations space, I know that personal narratives, testimonials and impact stories are incredibly powerful. But I never cease to be amazed with how effective a well-timed and told story can be.

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                        If you want to influence people, learn to tell stories. Your stories should be related to the issue or concept you are discussing. They should be an analogy or metaphor that explains your topic in ordinary terms and in vivid detail. To learn more about how to tell powerful stories, and the ethics of storytelling, take a look at this article: How To Tell An Interesting Story In 4 Simple Steps

                        5. Lead by Example

                        It is incredibly inspiring to watch passionate, talented people at work or play. One of the reasons a person who is not an athlete can be in awe of athletic prowess is because human nature appreciates the extraordinary. When we watch the Olympics, Olympic trials, gymnastic competitions, ice skating, and other competitive sports, we can recognize the effort of people who day in and day out give their all. C

                        ase in point: Simone Biles. The gymnast extraordinaire won her 6TH all-around title at the U.S. Gymnastics Championships after doing a triple double. She was the first woman to do so. Watching her gave me chills. Even non-gymnasts and non-competitive athletes can appreciate the talent required to pull off such a remarkable feat.

                        We celebrate remarkable accomplishments and believe that their example is proof that we too can accomplish something great, even if it isn’t qualifying for the Olympics. To influence people in a positive way, we must lead by example, lead with intention and execute with excellence.

                        6. Catch People Doing Good

                        A powerful way to influence people in a positive way is to catch people doing good. Instead of looking for problems, look for successes. Look for often overlooked, but critically important things that your peers, subordinates and managers do that make the work more effective and more enjoyable.

                        Once you catch people doing good, name and notice their contributions.

                        7. Be Effusive with Praise

                        It did not take me long to notice a remarkable trait of a former boss. He not only began and ended meetings with praise, but he peppered praise throughout the entire meeting. He found a way to celebrate the unique attributes and skills of his team members. He was able to quickly and accurately assess what people were doing well and then let them and their colleagues know.

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                        Meetings were not just an occasion to go through a “To Do” list, they were opportunities to celebrate accomplishments, no matter how small they are.

                        8. Be Kind Rather Than Right

                        I am going to level with you; this one is tough. It is easy to get caught up in a cycle of proving oneself. For people who lack confidence, or people who prioritize the opinions of others, being right is important. The validation that comes with being perceived as “right” feeds one’s ego. But in the quest to be “right,” we can hurt other people. Once we’ve hurt someone by being unkind, it is much harder to get them to listen to what we’re trying to influence them to do.

                        The antidote to influencing others via bullying is to prioritize kindness above rightness. You can be kind and still stand firm in your position. For instance, many people think that they need others to validate their experience. If a person does not see the situation you experienced in the way you see it, you get upset. But your experience is your experience.

                        If you and your friends go out to eat and you get food poisoning, you do not need your friends to agree that the food served at the restaurant was problematic for you. Your own experience of getting food poisoning is all the validation you need. Therefore, taking time to be right is essentially wasted and, if you were unkind in seeking validation for your food-poison experience, now you’ve really lost points.

                        9. Understand a Person’s Logical, Emotional and Cooperative Needs

                        The Center for Creative Leadership has argued that the best way to influence others is to appeal to their logical, emotional and cooperative needs. Their logical need is their rational and educational need. Their emotional need is the information that touches them in a deeply personal manner. The cooperative need is understanding the level of cooperation various individuals need and then appropriately offering it.

                        The trick with this system is to understand that different people need different things. For some people, a strong emotional appeal will outweigh logical explanations. For others, having an opportunity to collaborate will override emotional connection.

                        If you know your audience, you will know what they need in order to be positively influenced. If you have limited information about the people whom you are attempting to influence, you will be ineffective.

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                        10. Understand Your Lane

                        If you want to positively influence others, operate from your sphere of influence. Operate from your place of expertise. Leave everything else to others. Gone are the days when being a jack of all trades is celebrated.

                        Most people appreciate brands that understand their target audience and then deliver on what that audience wants. When you focus on what you are uniquely gifted and qualified to do, and then offer that gift to the people who need it, you are likely more effective. This effectiveness is attractive.

                        You cannot positively influence others if you are more preoccupied by what others do well versus what you do well.

                        Final Thoughts

                        Influencing people is about centering your humanity. If you want to influence others positively, focus on the way you communicate and improve the relationship with yourself first.

                        It’s hard to influence others if you’re still trying to figure out how to communicate with yourself.

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                        Featured photo credit: Wonderlane via unsplash.com

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