Wisdom, although it is such a simple word, the meaning of it holds a deeper mystery to it. We often hear the phrases, “The wise old owl”, “Seek the advice of the wise old man”, or “I don’t think that’s a very wise thing to do”; but what exactly is wisdom and what makes someone wise? Is becoming wise just a matter of reaching a certain magical mystical age? Are we born with a wisdom gene, or is it something that can be taught? I suppose if the question about what we can do to achieve wisdom was easy to answer, the world wouldn’t be on a constant quest to find it.
According to the dictionary, the definition of Wisdom is: “The quality of having experience, knowledge and good judgment; the soundness of action with regards to the application of experience, knowledge and good judgment.”
To be wise one must have knowledge, but wisdom and knowledge are not the same. Knowledge is the information gathered through experience or is taught through education. Knowing something does not make you wise simply because you have gained new information. Knowledge is basically facts and information, knowing what to do with that information to make sound decisions is another story.
Although knowledge can exist without wisdom, wisdom cannot exist without knowledge. Wisdom has the added ingredient of learning from your experiences. It is knowing what the outcome of a situation may or not be based on how one has dealt with similar situations in the past and what they may or may not have learned from their experience. Wisdom is awareness and deep understanding that incorporates a sense of life’s balances; the awareness of how things play out.
11 Traits That Wise People Have In Common
Psychologists have studied the phenomena of wisdom and have noted several traits that wise people share in common.
1| Wise people tend to be more optimistic than the average person. They view the problems they face in life as something that can work out; there is always a solution. Wise people will always see the glass as neither half-full or half-empty, but see it as something that can be refilled.
2| They view obstacles as challenges. Wise people tend to be problem solvers and see life as one big game. They will use their ability to see things differently to achieve their goals. If they can’t go around the mountain, they will climb it. If they can’t climb it, they will tunnel under it. If they can’t tunnel under it, they will blow a hole right through it. But they will not give up if they know there is a pathway to reaching their end result. In the same regard, wise people will recognize whether the mountain is actually their challenge to overcome in the first place or just a distraction.
3| Wise people understand that not all battles have to be fought. They have learned through past experience which battles will not create a positive outcome and which ones are worth fighting for. Wise people can walk away from conflict if they know the conflict will do more harm than good or if it is an unnecessary battle to fight.
4| They are calm in the face of adversity. Through past experience, wise people have learned that storms will come and go in our lives. This allows them to have faith with the knowledge that they will survive because they’ve already survived past adverse situations.
5| Wise people are more creative in the way they approach life. They have learned to become adaptable because not every situation is black and white. They find solutions to navigate the gray areas of life.
6| The wisest people do not believe that everyone thinks the same or thinks as they do. They do not place people into stereotypical categories. Wise people have the ability to see people as they are and have the ability to see life from a point of view that is not their own.
7| Wise people have and show empathy. They have compassion for the hurting and for those in our society that are struggling to make a better way. Wisdom gives them the desire to help others.
8| They possess introspect. They think on a deeper level and through their own knowledge and experience can provide others with valuable insight. Their testimony and life story allow them to mentor and guide others.
9| Wise people are more open to adopting new ways of doing things and are more willing to change their views on issues based on new information. They are wise because they understand life is always evolving and will evolve with it.
10| Balance and harmony are paramount. Wise people will always strive for peace. In fact, people will always associate a wise person with a balanced and peaceful nature. Through their ability to see things from a different perspective, their ability to problem solve, and their need for harmony, wise people will always point out common sense compromises. They grasp the concept that no one is always right and no one is always wrong, a happy medium can be achieved.
11| They possess humility. Wise people know that no one has all the answers. that we all make mistakes, and acknowledging them is the way to gain the insight that we are no better than anyone else and nobody else is better than us.
Learning To Acquire Wisdom
So if we have a better understanding of the traits that wise people possess, how does one begin to acquire wisdom? If it can’t be taught, then wisdom must come from learning it. The reality is, the lessons we need to learn in order to become wise won’t come easy. Wisdom, for some, will take many years — many years filled with mistakes, humbled egos, lost friendships and surviving adverse situations.
Becoming wise is a skill that has to be learned through practice. It will develop for most people as they gain experience from facing adversity. Facing adversity helps to clarify what is important in our lives and what is not. Going through these adversities blends the knowledge we received from it with the experience of it to create insight from it. The difficulties in life force people to evaluate how they see themselves in the world. These difficulties are the foundation to greater awareness, provide a meaning of purpose, and give us the insight — all necessary keys to unlocking our potential wisdom.
Experts agree these are the five things you must do to begin the process of gaining wisdom:
The process begins with turning inward and then progresses outward. The focus and what we find most important shifts from our belief that we are the most important thing in the world to seeing the world as greater than ourselves. Wise people grasp that we must make our world smaller and the world bigger. Life is not about us, it’s about us connecting to others; our ability to leave this world a better place than when we first entered it. But how do we begin this process?
1| You must have the desire for it and the awareness that it exists.
2| Trust your instincts. You gut will usually tell you when something is not right or tell you when it is. Wisdom will allow you to ignore the conventional and go with what you internally know is right.
3| Learn from your mistakes. If you have the knowledge of an outcome and the experience of dealing with an issue you’ve already dealt with and haven’t learned from it, you are not gaining wisdom. It is normal to make mistakes, but wise people will always learn from them.
4| You must be willing to accept that others may know more or have more experience than you. Wisdom is knowing that you will not always have the answers or be right. Learn to recognize the people who know more and who can give you the answers that you do not have.
5| You must learn from other’s mistakes as well as learn from their successes. By listening to others, witnessing their mistakes and seeing the consequences associated with those mistakes will help you stay clear of them. This allows you to gain insight into situations that you do not have to experience to learn from them. Likewise, you can learn from other’s successes. Studying what they did right and what they had to do in order to achieve their goals, will allow you to gain knowledge and to make good decisions.
What Is The Purpose of Having Wisdom
Once we reach the point in our lives where we experience the peaceful balance of wisdom, what next? What good is having wisdom if you don’t utilize it or share it with others? The whole purpose of gaining insight and wisdom is to help change our world and others around us. To do that we must plant the seeds of wisdom so that the next generation can reap the benefits of it.
Wisdom is that special gift that is meant to be shared; it is the link that connects each generation to the next. It is the glue that the wiser older generation provides to the fragmented youth to help bind and keep their lives together until they themselves become wise enough to help the youngsters following behind them.
“It requires wisdom to understand wisdom; the music is nothing if the audience is deaf” Quote by Walter Lippman.
This gift has allowed generations of mothers to pass down “motherly advice” to their daughters who will pass it on to their daughters. Wisdom is passed down from father to son, from teachers to students, and from established leaders to emerging superstars. The lessons we learn and the experiences we have will guide the next generation on their paths to greatness.
If we truly have grasped the concept of wisdom and have gained it through experience then we will fully recognize that it is our duty to make sure we give that gift away. We must enter the next chapter of our lives with the commitment to helping others who need to learn from us or to hear our stories to encourage them on this wild and wonderful journey called life.
This is the secret and purpose of wisdom — to gain it, to learn from it, and to pass it on.
As always, please leave a comment and let us know what wisdom you have gained life. Be sure to “Like”, “Share”, “Tweet”, and “Pin” this article to pass on these little gems of wisdom.