Aristotle, a personal favorite (circa 384—322 BCE) was a Greek philosopher who is also considered one of the founders of Western philosophy. When he turned 17, he joined Plato’s Academy and stayed until he was 37. After Plato died, Aristotle left Athens and became a tutor for Alexander the Great. In 335, he founded the Lyceum in Athens. His writings cover an incredible array of subjects including physics, metaphysics, poetry, theater, music, logic, rhetoric, politics, ethics, and even biology and zoology.

Quotations from Aristotle:

“I count him braver who overcomes his desires than him who conquers his enemies, for the hardest victory is over the self.”

“Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all.”

“It is the mark of an educated man to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.”

I’ve written a lot in this space and in my books about how believing our thoughts—particularly the stressful stories we tell ourselves about our lives—is a source of unhappiness and suffering for us.

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.”

I love this quotation and compare it to a similar quotation from the Buddha: “[What we] think and ponder upon becomes the inclination of our minds.”

Each time our “thinking and pondering” gives rise to compassionate thoughts or compassionate action, our inclination to be compassionate is strengthened, making it more likely that we’ll behave compassionately in the future. We’re, in effect, planting a behavioral seed that can grow into a habit. We are forming our character.

Peace and Love, Jim

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