My advice to graduates and a question for you

If you haven’t already, check out my latest post on Cal Newport’s website, Study Hacks. It’s addressed to recent college graduates (but applicable to anyone) and the primary piece of advice is to not trust anyone under 500.

Check it out.

On another note, I will be publishing my Taoism posts soon. That will be my 8th experiment since I started this project. I think I will take a break from the experiments for a little while and focus on synthesizing what I’ve learned from my time studying and practicing ancient wisdom.

My question to you is, what topics are you interested in learning about?

For example, I could extract pieces of knowledge that are applicable to careers. Or I can find material related to relationships.

My primary goal is to make ancient wisdom relevant and applicable to the life of the average modern person. So, if you have ideas that meet this criteria, please e-mail them to me or leave a comment.

Thank you all for following The Ancient Wisdom Project! I hope you’re learning as much as I have.


  • Magicub

    Seems that things are heating up on Cal’s comment section, anyway I think that’s good for you

    • Yes I like smart debates. Hopefully I can get more of them to happen on my site!

  • Andrew Edstrom

    Very cool how much discussion your post triggered.

    I would be interested to hear if in any of your experiments you’ve started feeling the pull of belief? When I went to church, it seemed that often new members would start to come to church for the community, but after it became a central part of their lives they would have a conversion experience where they really started to believe. Have you felt any draw like that?

    I would also be interested in hearing what you’ve learned about relationships (romantic and otherwise) through this experience. It seems like love is something you need to “just let happen,” but also something that takes attentive care and nurturing. How do you reconcile these without getting stuck in your head? Did any of your experiments hurt your relationships? Which ones helped?

    • Actually yes.

      Catholicism began to seem quite attractive, or at least, attempting to follow a Catholic way of life.

      Islam was also surprisingly appealing. When I prayed five times a day, the idea that there is a heaven and hell seemed to make more and more sense and I began to really feel why people would be drawn to Islam.

      The relationships is a tough angle. I haven’t explored it too much. I’d be able to comment on work relationships with co-workers and bosses and such, but little else.

      That would be a good topic though.

      • Andrew Edstrom

        Do you feel any remnant of that today, now that those experiments are over?

        Work relationships would be a really good topic. A lot of stoic writing, especially that of Marcus Aurelius, is about how to work with and forgive people who are ungrateful or disrespectful at work.

        • Catholicism is still attractive to me, though the desire is less intense than when I was going to Mass every day. I’m going to do more exploration around it though.

          I need to read more Marcus Aurelius. The translation I have of Meditations was difficult, so I abandoned it early on in favor of Seneca and Epictetus.

          • Andrew Edstrom

            Best of luck on your journey.

            If you ever get to it, you’ll love the Gregory Hayes translation. Here are a few quotes relevant to dealing with difficult people at work. This is just a small sample I found flipping randomly through the first third of the book:

            -“When you wake up in the morning, tell yourself: The people I deal with today will be meddling, ungrateful, arrogant, dishonest, jealous, and surly. They are like this because they can’t tell good from evil. But I have seen the beauty of good, and the ugliness of evil, and I have recognized that the wrongdoer has a nature related to my own—not of the same blood or birth, but the same mind, and possessing a share of the divine. And so none of them can hurt me. No one can implicate me in ugliness. Nor can I feel angry at my relative, or hate him. We were born to work together like feet, hands, and eyes, like the two rows of teeth, upper and lower. To obstruct each other is unnatural. To feel anger at someone, to turn your back on him: these are obstructions.”

            -“Choose not to be harmed—and you won’t feel harmed. Don’t feel harmed—and you haven’t been.”

            -“Be tolerant with others and strict with yourself. Remember, nothing belongs to you but your flesh and blood—and nothing else is under your control.”

            -“Ambition means tying your well-being to what other people say or do. Self indulgence means tying it to the things that happen to you. Sanity means tying it to your own actions.”

            -“How cruel—to forbid people to want what they think is good for them. And yet that’s just what you won’t let them do when you get angry at their misbehavior. They’re drawn toward what they think is good for them. ‘But it’s not good for them.’ Then show them that. Prove it to them. Instead of losing your temper.”

            -“The best revenge is not to be like that.”

            -“All of us are working on the same project. Some consciously, with understanding; some without knowing it. Some of us work in one way, some in others. And those who complain and try to obstruct and thwart things—they help as much as anyone. The world needs them as well. So make up your mind who you’ll choose to work with. The force that directs all things will make good use of you regardless—will put you on its payroll and set you to work. But make sure it’s not the job that Chrysippus speaks of: the bad line in the play, put there for laughs.”

          • Got it. Just downloaded to my kindle. Thanks!

  • Hi Dale, I found your post from Cal Newport’s blog. It is just what I was looking for, amongst the overabundance and clutter of packages, books and blogs that teach you to be rich and successful. I have always been more intrigued by philosophies and ancient practices such as the Samurai mentality and the art of Stoicism. I suggest you dig into the Sisu for an endeavor. It is a Finnish word that can be loosely translated to Stoicism in many ways but it seems more intense.

    Sadman Rahman

    • Hi Sadman,

      Thanks for the kind words. I’ll have to do some research into Sisu. Seems cool!


  • Magicub

    Dale, did you have any objections from the rabbi or the priest because your project was only for a month? Did Julia Stiles released a cook book?

    • No, they were generally intrigued by the idea.

      Not sure what the Julia Stiles reference is?

      • Magicub

        One of your commenters stated that your project is more dangerous stunt than cooking a Julia Stiles recipe every day for a year, or travelling to every country in
        the world. Maybe Julia Stiles was inspired to release a cook book like Julia Child that inspired Julie Powell to create a blog about cooking a recipe every day for a year, but i’m not sure.

  • Anna

    I think that you need to try the Eastern Orthodox Church and then the Coptic Church. Both way older forms of Christianity than Catholicism. ;o)

    • Any practice/virtue combinations you would recommend?

      • Anna

        This site has a map to the nearest parishes in your area:

        Orthodox Christians practice fasting (weekly fasts along with 4 major fasting seasons), the Jesus Prayer with prayer ropes, veneration of icons, lighting of candles, a rich liturgical calendar with 4 fasts and 12 great feasts, vespers and orthros prayer services, name days and memorials for the dead.