3 Tips for Living the Good Life

personal development stoicism Jul 14, 2021

You're probably familiar (maybe painfully so) with my fondness for ancient wisdom. If so, you may have heard me reference the quote, "Know thyself."

This is the most well-known maxim inscribed above the entrance to the Temple of Apolo, where the ancient Greeks sought prophetic insight from the Oracle of Delphi.

As a difference-maker, "know thyself" is essential advice. You can start to investigate this by asking yourself, "What are my values?" And "What's the vision I'm working toward?"

Turns out there are two other aphorisms carved above the entrance to the Oracle's home. Here are all three Delphic maxims.

  1. Γνῶθι σεαυτόν - Know thyself
  2. Μηδὲν ἄγαν - Nothing in excess
  3. Ἐγγύα πάρα δ ἄτα - Certainty brings ruin

"Nothing in access" is also great advice for difference-makers. Put another way, less is more. It's easy to conflate productivity with progress. But more often, doing one right thing well propels your endeavor forward the furthest and fastest.

Finally, there is serious peril in certainty and over-confidence. "Certainty brings ruin" more often than not. Change agents like you and I are well-advised to embrace curiosity and consideration instead.

How do you remind yourself of who you are, what to do, and how to approach it? Why not keep the ancient wisdom of "know thyself," "nothing in excess," and "certainty brings ruin" close at hand and top of mind?


Scott Perry, Difference-Maker Coach at Creative on Purpose.

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