by CareerActually contributor, Peter Luscombe


Socrates’ philosophy illuminates ways of thinking, ways of seeing our lives and ways of how to go about our business. Socrates’ philosophy is based in five ‘lessons’ in life. Each exemplifies a way to conduct yourself; especially applied to your work life.

Be as you wish to seem.

With a vision in mind, you have compass bearings for your actions. You are then able to realize your dreams by bringing them down to ground level. Imagine the work you really want to do, stretch yourself, think outside your usual boundaries.

… but Socrates also admonishes we be realistic …

 I know that I am intelligent, because I know that I know nothing.

Dream as much as you wish … however there are limitations. Recognizing your short-falls, where there are gaps in your knowledge and experience, is a necessary inventory. From this understanding you can work with what you have and see where you need to build on, further develop.

… with this in mind follows another Socratic ‘lesson’ …

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

Extend your reach. When you further your education, network, and seek knowledge, experience and guidance, then you empower yourself. There are many sources and resources which can help you along the way to realize your best self in a job which fits you well and in which you feel successful.

… Socrates calls for us to take pleasure in what we have …

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

Little is to be gained in life and at work if you don’t appreciate what you have. What’s there day-to-day is where you stand, and, also where you step up from to meet whatever you want. Significantly, this happens when you have a good work-life balance. As well, when you feel gratitude for what you have.

… Socrates’ ‘lessons’ are based in practicality …

 The beginning of wisdom is the definition of terms.

You achieve your dreams one step at a time, one day at a time, always mindful of where you now are, where you next want to be and where you’re headed. You frame such mindfulness in various ways, which will need to be defined and re-defined as you ‘wisely’ proceed through each day, week, month and so on. You might call this – ‘My Action Plan.’ It is wise to set out the ‘terms,’ the practical ways, you will achieve your goals and aims in life and at work.

There’s ‘wisdom’ that has been passed down through the ages. There’s ‘wisdom’ passed from one generation to another. There’s ‘wisdom’ passed from one person of knowledge and experience to another.

Wisdom is the ability to think and act using knowledge, experience, understanding, common sense, and insight.

 … however … what does Socrates have to say?

 Wisdom begins in wonder.