I recently read a book that challenged me deeply. I was made to see a situation I had thought had obvious right and wrong sides from a different point of view. It was painful to recognize how my judgment had been wrong. While it was an uncomfortable shift of perspective, it was valuable because I was made to grow in understanding, and I can apply this new understanding to other topics, ideas, events, and interactions and hopefully prevent that kind of misguided judgment in the future. I believe this was an experience that helped me to grow in wisdom.
What is wisdom? Wisdom can mean many things to different people. It is generally agreed that gaining wisdom comes from time and experience. But time and experience alone will not make us wise.
Gaining knowledge is an important and powerful thing to do and can also lead to gaining wisdom. Whether this learning happens in a formal setting or informally, whether a person has degrees earned or stacks of books read, it is still possible to have plenty of knowledge and learning and still not be wise.
Wisdom is using my power to choose to learn from the experiences I have in life, to focus on the good, and also to recognize the value in life lessons learned and shared by others.
Wisdom is recognizing my internal compass and acting with integrity. It is knowing that I have power to influence and improve the world around me, but also knowing that I cannot do it all on my own.
Wisdom is gratitude and peace.
Wisdom is the ability to use your knowledge and experience to make good decisions and judgments. This is not something that comes easily. It requires effort, taking time for contemplation, a desire for understanding, developing empathy, and having the humility to admit mistakes and learn from them.
As I have pondered on this topic, and even as I have written this out, I have felt inadequate to speak about wisdom as if I were an expert. I am not. But I am seeking for wisdom in my life. I want to the best person I can be. I want to help lift those around me and be lifted by those who can help me.
How have you gained wisdom in your life? How have you been influenced by wise people?
Written by Lisa Bjornberg
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