I was watching a documentary on the Ancient Greeks over the weekend (I know, what a rebel) and a snippet about the Oracle at Delphi caught my attention. The documentary discussed two key Delphic principles, which are believed to have been inscribed on the original temple: “Know Thyself” and “Nothing in Excess”. Two simple statements that resonate still today, two simple statements that offer us sage advice for life.
Think about it. “Know Thyself” encourages each of us to seek to truly understand ourselves – our strengths, our weaknesses, our desires, our fears etc. With knowledge comes power and the ability to shape the world around us. “Nothing in Excess” encourages us to enjoy all that life has to offer, yet not take anything too far lest it become detrimental to our health and wellbeing.
Personally, I love the simplicity of these words. I sat and reflected for a few minutes on them, and it dawned on me that these two simple statements really are the foundations for happiness. You need to know yourself before you can hope to truly know others, and avoiding excess allows you to avoid the suffering that inevitably comes when excess goes too far.
Simple words, simple advice. Know Thyself. Nothing in Excess. Think about how you might incorporate them into your life.
We human beings have a tendency to reinvent the wheel.