This was a week of Greek and Latin. When I started writing this blog my elder daughter and her friends were watching Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara and they were raving about Spain and also the beauty of Latin languages. By now I also remember scene by scene of that movie. I like the songs from that movie and it was a nice feel-good movie.
I was reading articles of Greek philosophers in between my busy sales closure times in the week. It was Aristotle, Plato, Socrates, Epictetus, and others. My wife shared on Whatsapp a nice article. It had all the words from Latin which are used in English and was titled Latinate Meet: From Quid Pro Quo to In Flagrante Delicto to Non-Compos Mentis*.
Some words which caught my eyes were Bona Fide, Prima Facie, Ad Hoc, Et Cetera, Nota Bena, PostScript, Carpe Diem, De Facto De Jure, Vox Populi, Vice Versa, Mea Culpa, TerraFirma, Ad Infinitum, Non-Sequitur, Alma Mater, Sotto Voce, and Non-Compos Mentis.
My attempt is to use some of the words in the context along with some Greek aphorisms. Sharing 6 stand-out quotes ( my personal picks) which I came across in 2020 and which helped me put those thoughts in the right perspective and created a sense of awe and wonder. As Socrates would say, ” Wisdom begins with wonder”.
- No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man. – Heraclitus
I liked this one by Heraclitus as we experienced this like never before in 2020 when we were locked at home for 68 days. Prima Facie ( on the first impression) I was not sure, when the lockdown started, how it is going to play out. Looking back, I could relate that I have made progress with my routines and also making a different view of the world with gratitude, love, and caring for others. I am sure many people would have felt that he or she is not the same after going through the lockdown. There are so many tales of people upskilling and also changing their behavior.
2. Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all. – Aristotle
Mea culpa is a Latin phrase that means “through my fault” and is an acknowledgment of having done wrong. There were times in the day when I had lost my control speaking to people and I regret those and apologized duly. I was guilty of calling people when they were busy in the hospital. My viewpoint was that they were lackadaisical and were not accepting my phone calls and I was playing some hatred stories in my head. After being aware of going down that rabbit hole I had to interrupt those patterns and build a narrative to get back to my state.
3. The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new. – Socrates
If you change the way you look at things, things that you look at changes, I had a mental block on getting up early at 5 AM which I was holding since school days. I had to break that old mold of thinking with a new self-narrative. The new narrative emerged into my mind by exposing myself to people, books, and ideas. As they say, you are the average of the 5 people you hang around with or 5 ideas. I learned from people whom I follow, their daily practices and that has led me to build a different narrative and then taking action on the same.
Nota Bena (used in written text to draw attention to what follows or observe carefully or take special notice). One of the important things I learned is that I can change in more ways than one.
4. The greatest wealth is to live content with little. – Plato
One of the best Bona Fide thoughts I have gathered in 2020 was about how we can maximize to become a minimalist. It was a time to reflect on all our possessions. Do we really need so many clothes? After following intermittent fasting, I was questioning, how much do we really need to eat? Pico Iyer had a good influence on me on this perspective. He says,” “one is reminded, at a level deeper than all words, how making a living and making a life sometimes point in opposite directions.”
5. True happiness is to enjoy the present. A wise man is content with his lot, whatever it may be, without wishing for what he has not. – Seneca
Alma mater (the university, school, or college that one formerly attended). We were locked in the room most of 2020. The friends of CET impacted in more ways than one. They connected with me over WhatsApp and zoom. These interactions helped me to chill out, crack jokes and it was very liberating. This way we enjoyed the gift of the present.
6. First say to yourself what you would be, and then do what you have to do. – Epictetus
Carpe diem, (Latin: “pluck the day” or “seize the day”) phrase used by the Roman poet Horace to express the idea that one should enjoy life while one can.
One of the golden phrases for me which I keep hearing from Ian Faria was these unique ten words: if it is to be it is up to me. That was how I seized the day. The best part of this phrase was each word in this phrase is two letters. So when it comes to situations where I had to make decisions I remembered the phrase. I had to run my thoughts using this empowering phrase and it gave me the psychological power to take decisions.
A couple of days back, I opened Tim Ferris’s much-acclaimed book “The 4 Hour Work Week” and in that he ends the preface by “un abrazo fuerte.” I had to check on google translation and understood it as a tight hug which we never did in 2020. In 2020 we did not literally hug people but I offer my sense of gratitude ( tight hug ) to people and their content ( Quotes and phrases which I had never heard before)
I can summarise 2020 in the words of Robert Frost in three words.