Socrates was given a choice: Stop talking philosophy with people, or die. He chose the surprising option. He said, "As long as I live and breathe, I will never stop philosophizing."
In a broad survey of people today, and given two choices, you would probably find most checking the box that said, "As long as I live and breathe, I will never start philosophizing." How could so many have lost sight of something that, in the opinion of one great and wise person, is worth dying for?
Well, what is philosophy, anyway? The word's etymology, from Greek, simply means, "Love of Wisdom." Philo - Love of; Sophia - Wisdom. And wisdom, in the last analysis, is just insight for living, the deep understanding that alone can guide us well through the adventure we're on.
Think about it for a second. An object of love: When you lack it, you pursue it. When you have it, you embrace it. Philosophy is just the pursuit and embracing of wisdom - insight for life.
How important is it? The book of Proverbs claims its worth is beyond that of gold and jewels. Socrates himself said that the unexamined life - the life without wisdom - is not worth living.
How then do you pursue wisdom? How do you embrace it?
Socrates believed that every day we're given the choice - to philosophize, or to die. If we make the wrong choice, if we're not growing in wisdom, we're not really living, we're just fading away, however active and full our lives may seem. Appearances, as he also taught us, aren't always the best guides to reality.
Choose well, then. Choose philosophy. Pick the life worth living.