In light of the ancient tradition, we may have an easiness in picturing a philosopher as a man on the streets interrogating the masses by individual, analyzing existing thoughts and beliefs with the intent to discover the core of every endeavor.
In our lives, we are the philosophers that we dream in the ancient streets. We, the thinkers, perpetuate the philosophical tradition. We are the begotten, the sons and daughters of thinkers past, joined by contemporary brothers and sisters. We are the kin of Aristotle, Plato, and Socrates; Schopenahuer, Aquinas, and Descartes.
Philosophy, I think — no coincidence intended — is a portal. If you wrestle with something in thought, you’ve fought half the battle. Contemplating all scenarios and consequences, understanding all mechanisms and reverberations, and foreseeing all repercussions will give you the high ground. You’ll be better prepared and confident.
The pursuit of truth, in my experience, is often reflective. In academic philosophy, there is the debate whether we learn from experience or reason. I suppose I would ally myself more largely with the experience camp, but reason is certainly not without its dues. Experience examined with reason becomes golden — that’s how you can reveal truth. That’s called reflection.
Keep a diary or journal and note significant events and thoughts in your life. Read over them a year later and reflect on those same entries. Look for changes in your thoughts and approaches to events. Were you swelled in emotion during some event, and, a year later, now realize it? What does that mean for you in the future? Did you enjoy doing one thing back then, and now find the exact activity a drive through the doldrums? It’s fascinating to watch yourself grow. It’s very rewarding, too.