Develop A Philosophy

Image: Steps for learning

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with the very first step.” — Chinese proverb

Philosophy Development Step 1: Discovery

You can take these modules as part of a class or an individual customized learning through the Internet.

Philosophy Module 1: The Knowledge of Sages

Others have already figured out most of what we need to know—if we have enough sense to hear what they have to say.


Wikimedia Commons: Rembrandt: The Philosopher in Meditation

We all have an internalized philosophy that drives our life. Some of these are virtues—values inducing us to do the positive. Some are beliefs and others are principles Some of these are more valuable than others.

To cite one example, there is a classic American saying which goes, “Work hard and you’ll be successful.” Great success rarely easy. However, there are many, many hard working people who have little meaningful success in life.

It’s not that it’s a bad rule; but it’s not good enough to be successful. There are many, many, many people who work long hours, seven days a week and who never experience much success.

Another is the association between the American Dream and Thomas Jefferson’s saying in the Declaration of Independence about, “Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” This is sometimes heard as a belief that “Money buys us happiness.” Unfortunately, money doesn’t provide meaning to life—nor does great wealth make the wealthy more happy.

In this module you will:

  • Examine philosophical principles used by the Famous, the Celebrated, the Renowned
  • Examine the traits of successful individuals
  • Read and reflect on relevant articles, Internet sites, audios, and videos
Learning Program 2: Focus On The Virtues
Wikimedia Commons, Greek library at Ephesus, The personification of virtue

Virtues serve as building blocks underlying good character. Virtues are really a set of values describing many behaviors. They form the basis for what makes you into a better human being.

The ancient Greek philosophers had four. Christianity has three, Buddhism has four. We will look at a much larger list, in this case, a list of over 100. Some of them are more relevant to adults, others more relevant to children.

In this module you will:

  • Define your strengths, meritorious qualities, virtues.
  • Choose the pearls forming the basis for practical wisdom.

Learning Module 3: Assess Faults, Vices, Weaknesses

Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil. — Japanese saying

Unfortunately, most people fail to understand the true nature of this quote. They think it only applies to others, but really, it mostly applies to me. I cannot see, I do not hear, I cannot detect the bad things I say.That’s why it is important to see our own blind spots; to hear what we don’t want to hear; to detect hurtful things when talking—to open eyes and ears.

This portion of the process is often the hardest—we are typically blind to our own weaknesses or the limiting beliefs driving bad behavior. To cite one example, there are seven “deadly sins” as defined for by the Catholic Church. While they have religious implications, they also represent secular character defaults— failings that have moral and ethical implications.


In this module you will:

  • Analyze your faults, bad traits and any deadly sins.

Learning Module 4: Focus on Personality Traits

A philosophy is something you live by, not just something you write out. But you have to write it before you can live it.

In psychology, traits are patterns of behavior that are established at a fairly young age. There are a number of these—some set up along the lines of opposites. For example, brash and tactful, one more helpful to being perceived as a leader than another

In this module you will:

Discover your major traits—both good and bad

Find out the major traits associated with being perceived as a leader

Decide what changes must be made.

Learning Module 5: Focus on Philosophical Principles

A philosophy is something you live by, not just something you write out. But you have to write it before you can live it.

One needs to be clear about what you are clear about. This module focuses on both being clear about ones character traits philosophical statements one is going to follow. It synthesizes the earlier work done to three key one-page documents.

In this module you will:

Develop seven to ten key philosophical statements.

Major personality theory, 3-facter, 5-factor, 16-factors models

Determine which faults to decrease and virtues to enhance.

Develop a philosophy charter

Step 2: Application of Your Philosophy
Wikimedia Commons: Jacques-Louis David, The Death of Socrates

Individual Practice

One can implement the development plan. But starting something new is never easy. This step is a tough one. Getting going is easier if you have backing of someone who can provide that right feedback and the support.

Practice With Coaching

If this option is chosen, each week we focus on some aspect of personal development. The learning cycle is normally a two-week one. That not saying in all cases, that one can completely make a change. The mind is more rigid that that. It takes a while to make it more flexible. And sometimes that means one much unlearn something that has been practiced for a long time.

Frequently Asked Questions

Question: Will I be asked to do reading?

Yes. This is an exercise in discovering what one does not know. Some of the authors you will read include:

Victor Frankl,

Benjamin Franklin,

John Wooden and others.

Question: How long does this take?

The discovery phase only takes 4 weeks. The application phase can go for months—It depends on what you want to change and how much you want it to change.

Leadership Skill Development