7 Immutable Lessons from The Brightest Minds In History

Some of the most brilliant minds who paved the way for us were gone a long time before we were born. Yet, their findings, lessons, legacies are still well present in today’s world. They are just at the reach of the hand. In some old books.

Here are the 7 irrefutable lessons, I learned this week, from the some of the brightest minds in history.

1. “The first principle is that you must not fool yourself — and you are the easiest person to fool.” -Richard Feynman.

This lesson opens the door for the second life lesson from Cyrus. Don’t fool yourself. Know your true worth, what you are capable of.

2. Men often fail to understand their own weaknesses, and their lack of self knowledge can bring terrible disasters down on their own heads.” -Cyrus

Self-awareness seems like it is a word that is in every mouth in the entrepreneurial world. Thanks to Gary Vaynerchuck and his franc-parlé. Yet, this concept was born thousands of years ago and still remains true as of today. Because human nature doesn’t change. In order to reach our maximum potential, we need to be aware of our weaknesses and strengths. The next step is to exploit them to its full capability.

3. It is impossible to learn from that which one thinks one already know.” -Epictetus

Like an ancient Chinese saying explains: if you pour tea in a cup already full, it will only overflow. You can’t learn if you think you already know everything. Adopt the attitude of a student, of someone constantly willing to learn from anything, anyone.

4. “My advice is really this: what we hear the philosophers saying and what we find in their writings should be applied in our pursuit of the happy life. We should hunt out the helpful teaching and the spirited and noble-minded sayings which are capable of immediate practical application. Not for far-fetched or archaic expressions or extravagant metaphors and figures of speech — and learn them so well that words become works.” -Seneca

Remember: We read to learn for moral and practical lessons. The point is to take what we’ve read and turn the words, as Seneca says, into works.

5. “Because you have got a start, you think you are quite a merchant; look out or you will lose your head. Go steady.” -John D. Rockefeller.

The titan supposedly repeated these words every night before heading to bed. It is not because you just started that you already are successful. These days, having a startup seems like the cool thing to do. Yet, a startup isn’t worth much until it is successful. And success is only achieved through hard work, perseverance and adaptability.

6. “The way to do really big things seems to be to start with deceptively small things.” -Paul Graham.

Ideas aren’t worth much. Everyone could have thought of building Amazon. Yet, only one actually built it. Why? Because execution is everything. You have to execute, do what others aren’t willing to do, so you can create something others can’t.

7. “For fire burns him who touches it, yet it furnishes light and heat, and is an instrument of every craft for those who have learned to use it. So look at your enemy, and see whether, in spite of his being in most respects harmful and difficult to manage, he does not in some way or other afford you means of getting hold of him and of using him as you can use no one else, and so can be of profit to you.” -Prometheus.

Throughout life, we will encounter enemies. When we meet them, we have to solutions: (1) Avoid them, (2) Find a way to profit from them.

“The water of the sea is unfit to drink and tastes vile; yet fish thrive in it, and it is a medium for the dispatch and conveyance of travellers everywhere.” -Plutarch.

You have to find a way to profit from your enemies. Deal with the cards you have.


This article originally appeared on my website.

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