WISDOM

Posted on August 12, 2020 · Posted in Blog, General, Memo Plus Gold, Personal

Wisdom is one of those qualities that is difficult to define – because it encompasses so much – but which people generally recognize when they encounter it. And it is encountered most obviously in the realm of decision-making.

Psychologists tend to agree that wisdom involves an integration of knowledge, experience, and deep understanding that incorporates tolerance for the uncertainties of life as well as its ups and downs. There is an awareness of how things play out over time, and it confers a sense of balance.

Wise people generally share an optimism that life’s problems can be solved and experience a certain amount of calm in facing difficult decisions. Intelligence – if only anyone could figure out exactly what it is – may be necessary for wisdom, but it definitely is not sufficient; an ability to see the big picture, a sense of proportion, and considerable introspection also contribute to its development.

Wisdom can be acquired only through experience, but by itself, experience does not automatically confer wisdom. Researchers are probing the social, emotional, and cognitive processes that transmute experience into wisdom.

Numerous theories have now emerged. Developmental psychologist Paul Baltes conceived of wisdom as expertise derived from five key components (rich procedural knowledge, rich factual knowledge, an understanding of different life contexts, an awareness of the relativism of values and priorities, and the ability to recognize and manage uncertainty).

Sociologist Monika Ardelt believes that individuals develop wisdom as personality characteristics encompassing reflection, compassion, and the pursuit of truth. Psychologist Robert Sternberg understands wisdom as balance – balance between oneself and others so that actions are directed at the common good.

HOW TO GAIN WISDOM

Try new things.

It is hard to gain wisdom when you stay in and do the same thing day after day. You get wiser when you put yourself out there and give yourself the opportunity to learn, make mistakes and reflect on the experience. If you tend to be on the inhibited side, work on cultivating an inquisitive spirit and the willingness to put yourself in new situations. Every time you experience something new, you open yourself up to the possibility of learning and getting a little wiser for having tried it.

Step out of your comfort zone.

If you are afraid to do something, perhaps that is the very thing you should try to do. When you have to deal with an awkward or scary situation, you come out on the other side better equipped to handle fear the next time you face it. As Eleanor Roosevelt said, “We gain strength, and courage, and confidence by each experience in which we really stop to look fear in the face . . . we must do that which we think we cannot.”

Make an effort to talk to people you do not know very well.

Talk to people from different backgrounds and with different perspectives from yours, and pay attention to what you can learn from them. Try not to judge them based on your own narrow point of view. The more you are able to empathize with others, the wiser you will be.

Be open-minded.

Instead of judging things you do not know much about, consider them from every angle and make an effort to understand.It is easy to base our views on the limited experiences we have had in life, but that is not the way to gain wisdom. You cannot help that you have grown up in a certain place with certain people, but you can decide how open you are to learning about different ways of life.

Enrich yourself with education.

If you are interested in learning something new, one of the best ways to do it is by taking a class. The classes you take can be affiliated with a university, but they do not have to be. Do some research to find out if community members where you live teach classes or workshops on their areas of expertise.

Find wise mentors.

Who in your life strikes you as wise? Wisdom comes in many forms. It could be a pastor who gives people something important to reflect on each week. It could be a teacher who has the ability to inspire people with his or her knowledge. Maybe it is a family member who reacts to every difficult situation with a level head.

Read as much as you can.

Reading is a way to absorb other people’s perspectives, no matter what subject they are writing about. It gives you an insight into the way other people think that is impossible to get in any other way. Reading up on both sides of important matters gives you the iinformation you need to form valid opinions and make reasoned decisions.

Realize that everyone is fallible.

As you gain your own wisdom and experience, you will find that those you looked up to as mentors have their own failings. Do not hold people to such high standards that their mistakes shock and repel you. Strive to see people’s humanity, which means not holding them up on pedestals but taking the bad along with the good.

Be humble in new situations.

As Socrates said, “The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing”. It is difficult to fully grasp this concept until you are faced with a life situation that completely stumps you. No matter how smart you are, and how many experiences you have had, you will encounter times when the line between right and wrong seems fuzzy and you are not sure what choice to make.

Think before acting.

Take as much time as you need to deliberate on a problem before making a decision. Think about the pros and cons, taking your experience as well as others’ advice into account, so you make the wisest possible choice.

Act on your values.

Looking to people, religious tenets and books for advice and wisdom will only get you so far. Do not just accept a set of values because that is what you were taught. Ultimately, your values should be aligned with your conscience, that gut feeling that tells you what to do based on what you know to be true. When you have a big decision to make, call up your values and stick to them.

Learn from your mistakes.

Even a carefully considered decision can end up being the wrong one. Each time you have a new experience, reflect on it and think about what went well and what did not. When you realize you have made a mistake, see what new findings you can apply the next time you face a similar situation.

Share your wisdom with others.

That is not to say you should tell people what to do; rather, lead by example. Show others the wisdom of being open, non-judgmental and thoughtful in all situations. Think about the mentors who helped you along the way, and find ways to play that role for other people who might be able to benefit from what you have learned.

As usual, we remind you to take your Memo Plus Gold daily. It will help to keep you alert and mentally sharp.Natural memory enhancer