I wrote an article on the theme happiness titled 'The Way to Happiness' in the March issue of the Kyungnam Times. In my life, I have experienced many ups and downs and been depressed and sometimes frustrated. So, of course, my main interest has become how I can relieve my anxiety and relax my mind and live a happy life. While reading books on Eastern and Western classics, philosophy and psychology, I have felt close to the answer to the problems of my life. However, in the end, I came to the conclusion that I was the only one who could solve my own problems. Reaching this conclusion will take a long time and will be very difficult for you, college students. Therefore, in this issue, we will look through the life of Tolstoy, the great writer of Russia, and study the wisdom of life he left for us, and think about how we should live our lives.
How much do you think you know about Tolstoy? War and peace, Anna Karenina, and Resurrection? While reading Tolstoy's biography to prepare for this column, I gradually began to indulge in his life as a human like me. He was born an aristocrat and could live his entire life in abundance, but he spent his life thinking about how to improve the lives of poor peasants and poverty-stricken people, and he actually engaged in numerous charitable activities to help them. He used his own property as well as manuscript fees to realize equality of wealth. He personally chose to live with them by experiencing poverty and farming so that his actions would not be seen as hypocrisy. Through such a practical life, he could feel the real joy and happiness of life. He devoted his whole life to creating a society where everyone was to be happy, not just himself. But overall, he realized that it was not enough to solve this problem on his own without a shift in social and national awareness. So he left us words of wisdom that would help us live our lives. All the words of wisdom in this article are reconstructed by the writer based on Tolstoy's The Wisdom of Life, translated by Park Seon-gyeong (2007).
- There are only two ways to get rid of the pain of poverty. It is to increase one's fortune and to reduce one's desire. The former is solved by our strength, but the latter is always possible by our minds.
- What is the reward for living a good and right life? It is the reward to enjoy the joy of living that way. If you want anything else than that, you lose your joy.
Every human being has a fear of death. So there are people who blindly rely on God and make money from utilizing such weak minds. Here are the words of wisdom that would help mortal men lead a right life without a fear of death.
- Human beings must prepare for death because death will come sooner or later. The best way to prepare for it is to live a good and right life. If you live a good and right life, you have no reason to fear death.
- Men are bound to die, but wisdom acquired during their lives does not fade with death. Humanity continued to preserve wisdom, and future generations are living by utilizing the wisdom of their ancestors.
Tolstoy was an aristocrat, but he lived humbly and frugally all his life. And when he had a conflict with a friend, he apologized first and asked for forgiveness. He used to feel guilty when he did not live a humble life. His words of wisdom sound more authentic because they were born through what he felt and experienced in his life.
- A man who is not humble always blames others. Such a person only admits to the wrongs of others. That is how his own desires and sins grow bigger and bigger.
- If anyone has sinned against you, forget it and forgive whoever he is. Then you will know the happiness of forgiveness. We have no right to blame others.
It would be no exaggeration to say that no one valued time as much as Tolstoy and he did his best in every moment. He continued to write great works, practicing his love towards his neighbors, and sometimes devoted himself to writing good works to raise money for his poor neighbors. Such contribution and efforts eventually made him achieve global success as a writer. Let's take a look at his advice on the importance of time and the secret of success.
- Time is gold. There is a year which is not worth a penny, whereas there is a half-hour which is not at your disposal even if tens of millions of dollars is given to you.
- The first condition of success in anything is patience. And the biggest obstacle to everything is the useless interventions.
Every human being sometimes misbehaves. He says how we should behave after we misbehave and how our behavior affects our lives.
- It's not good to hide your bad behavior. But it's no better to let the world know and boast about it. It would be better to feel ashamed when you are alone than to feel ashamed among many people.
- Our actions become our lives and soon become our fate. This is the law which governs our lives.
Among the words of wisdom that Tolstoy left us about how to live a life, the longest remembered word in my heart is the last sentence of this article. The words that what we do governs our lives and determines our destiny seem to offer us a clear answer to how we should live our lives.