"Moderation, which consists in indifference about little things, and in a prudent and well-proportioned zeal about things of importance, can proceed from nothing but true knowledge, which has its foundation in self-acquaintance." ~ Plato (This quote was used in the 2007 TFP posts, Plato: The Philosopher King and Asset Allocation: The Balanced Model)
If we follow simple wisdom, such as the immediately preceding quote from Plato, there is little need for making "new year's resolutions," such as "lose weight" or "get finances in order." Plato's "indifference about little things" suggests we do not "sweat the small stuff;" his idea of "well-proportioned zeal about things of importance" suggests we give more attention to things that matter most to us, such as health, personal relationships, and overall happiness; and, finally, Plato's underlying theme of moderation and his "foundation of self-awareness" (knowing yourself) strike at the very core of success in all areas of our lives, including personal finance...
This post will attempt to step outside the confinement of specific goals and list-making and assess the big picture by thinking of philosophies to live by... rather than resolutions that may or may not be kept. If we choose the right path, or philosophy, then good habits are consistently reinforced and bad habits diminish. By staying on that metaphorical path, we will eventually reach our destination (if it does not find us first); therefore, a specific destination, whether it be a financial goal or some other personal accomplishment, becomes less necessary.
I believe several of the following quotes are wise thoughts to inspire your life philosophies and the direction of your path in 2008 and beyond. Rather than a predictable "best posts of 2007" list, I've constructed several quotes (with links to posts for additional support and reference) found here at The Financial Philosopher throughout the past year...
"Freedom from the desire for an answer is essential to the understanding of a problem." ~ Jiddu Krishnamurti (From The Essence of Understanding)
"In character, in manner, in style, in all things, the supreme excellence is simplicity." ~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (From Simplicity & Balance: Investing With One Fund)
"Let no one delay the study of philosophy when young nor weary of it when old." ~ Epicurus (From Why The World Needs Philosophy)
"Have more than thou showest, speak less than thou knowest." ~ William Shakespeare (From Less Than Thou Showest)
"If thou wilt make a man happy, add not unto his riches but take away from his desires." ~ Epicurus (From Can Money Really Buy Happiness?)
"You spent the first half of your life becoming somebody. Now you can work on becoming nobody, which is really somebody. For when you become nobody there is no tension, no pretense, no one trying to be anyone or anything. The natural state of the mind shines through unobstructed -- and the natural state of the mind is pure love." ~ Ram Dass (From Working On Becoming Nobody)
"Man acts as though he were the shaper and master of language, while in fact language remains the master of man." ~ Martin Heidegger (From The Five Minute Retirement Plan)
"If I have even just a little sense, I will walk on the main road and my only fear will be of straying from it." ~ Lau-tzu (From Lau-tzu: Beginning of 'The Way')
Resolutions are often futile, although well-intentioned, attempts to make meaningful changes in our lives; however, those same resolutions have the potential to lose meaning and effectiveness if they are not part of the same core philosophies that form our behavior and thought processes to begin with. In other words, resolutions are almost always doomed to fail, so why do it!!!???
Metaphorically speaking, we should simply determine the direction of our path; start walking it; and do our best to stay on it...