Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Leo Tolstoy: Expand Your Social Circle

The most essential lesson to take from Tolstoy is to follow his lead and recognize that the best way to challenge our assumptions and prejudices, and develop new ways of looking at the world, is to surround ourselves with people whose views and lifestyles differ from our own. That's why he ceased socializing in Moscow and spent so much time with laborers on the land. In Resurrection, Tolstoy pointed out that most people, whether they are wealthy businessmen, powerful politicians, or common thieves, consider their beliefs and way of life to be both admirable and ethical. "In order to keep up their view of life," he wrote, "these people instinctively keep to the circle of those people who share their views of life and their own place in it."
 If we want to question our beliefs and ideals, we need to follow the example of Tolstoy, spending time with people whose values and everyday experiences contrast with our own. Our task must be to journey beyond the perimeters of the circle.

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