wisdom to win

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Plato - Philosophy and SuccessPlato - Philosophy and Success


Plato (427-347 BC)


Greek philosopher (pictured right), who left Athens on the death of his teacher, Socrates, but returned to set up the Academy, the world’s first university.

His star student was another great Greek philosopher, Aristotle (pictured right below).

 Plato - Philosophy and Success

His most famous book is...

The Republic, written around 360 BC.


His tips for success


1. Face reality and know what’s important

Face up to your weaknesses and problems, and do something about them.Plato - Philosophy and Success

Plato’s “The Myth of the Cave” explains this: 

In a dark cave some prisoners see only shadows, which they think are real, because they have been chained there all their lives.

So they don’t believe a released prisoner who tells them that the shadows are not real.

Their failure to face reality stops them:

  • seeing the truth.
  • discovering their real selves (including their weaknesses and problems).

 Plato - Philosophy and Success

2. An ideal world: the “Theory of Forms”

His Theory of Forms (or ideas) says:

  • everything has an ideal form in another ideal world.
  • only imperfect copies exist in our world.

This theory has had a big influence on Christian beliefs like:

  • eternal life (living an ideal life after death)
  • a perfect God.

The Form of the Good was particularly vital to Plato.

This says that eternal truths (like goodness, love and beauty) are the most important things.

 Plato - Philosophy and Success

3. Learn with a laugh

Learn continuously but never lose your sense of humour. You learn best when you:

  • want to do it.
  • have fun.
  • discover new things .

“Philosophy begins in wonder”, he said.

Plato - Philosophy and Success

4. Be good

To be good you must have four cardinal virtues:

  • justice (doing the right thing and being fair),
  • courage (physical and moral strength). 
  • temperance (self-discipline and moderation). 
  • wisdom (or prudence) - knowledge and skills. Plato - Philosophy and Success

A good person must also consider the three parts of his (or her) immortal soul:

  • reason: intellect and insight that finds goodness and knowledge.
  • spirit: will (or self-motivation), self-control and courage.
  • desire: what you want, which should not stop you being good.

Plato said that reason is the most important and should control the other two.

 Plato - Philosophy and Success

5. Question everything

Like Socrates (pictured right), Plato believed that you should continually question your assumptions, beliefs and conclusions

This leads to further questioning, because one conclusion leads to another problem.

One question is always connected with another.


6. Philosopher dictators

Because thinkers and philosophers are the best people, they should lead the ignorant masses by force and dictatorship.

Plato didn’t believe in democracy, because he believed the people weren’t able to rule themselves.

 Plato - Philosophy and Success

7. Speak wisely

Only speak, if you have something wise or useful to say.

“Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools, because they have to say something”, Plato said.


Key quotes on communication

No one is more hated than he who speaks the truth.

Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools, because they have to say something.


Key quote on fear and anxiety

Courage is knowing not to fear.


Key quote on success

For a man to conquer himself is the first and noblest of all victories.


Key quote on motivation

Man – a being in search of meaning.


Key quote on influencing people

Good actions give strength to ourselves and inspire good actions in others.


Key quote on innovation

Necessity...the mother of invention.


Key quote on happiness

The greatest wealth is to live content with little.


Key quote on empowerment

The measure of a man is what he does with power.


Key quote on love

Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle.


Key quote on law and justice

Everywhere there is the one principle of justice which is the interest of the stronger.


Key quote on learning and wisdom

Philosophy begins in wonder.


Key quote on creativity

The true lover of knowledge naturally strives for truth and is not content with common opinion but soars with undimmed and unwearied passion till he grasps the essential nature of things.

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