Wisdom is essentially good judgement. It’s a combination of intelligence, knowledge, and experience. For example, it’s easier to be wise if you’re intelligent, but not absolutely necessary.
The more you know, the more your knowledge will add to your ability to make wise decisions. Experience is one way of gaining relevant knowledge.
There’s no downside to becoming a wiser person. Wisdom will always help you to better navigate your way through life.
Follow this process and you’ll develop greater wisdom:
1. Review your successes. Understanding what made you successful at something is a key component of maximizing your wisdom. Why were you a better student in math than your best friend? Why were you able to reduce your marathon time by over 30 minutes?
2. Review your failures. Reviewing your failures isn't as fun as reviewing your successes. However, there's much to be learned from your failures.
● Repeat the above exercise with your failures this time. Understand why you were unsuccessful in each case. Was it a lack of preparation? Was it a lack of commitment? Did you trust the wrong person?
3. Review your day. At the end of each day, review all of your successes and failures for the day. What went well? Why? In what areas did you struggle? Why? Reviewing each day is a wonderful way to build your wisdom and to avoid repeating your mistakes.
4. Analyze the successes and failures of others. You’re not the only person with successes and failures. Look at your friends, family, and coworkers. Read autobiographies of historical figures. What can you learn from all of these people?
5. Become a philosopher. Considering a wide variety of perspectives can help you to better understand the world. A Christian can learn a lot from reading about Buddhism. A nihilist would be well-served to consider existentialism. Actively expand your understanding of the world around you.
6. Read. If you read the right things, you can learn a lot. The latest Stephen King novel probably won’t do much for your wisdom. Reading Aristotle might be good, though. Reading is a way of receiving the knowledge of the greatest minds in history.
7. Avoid jumping to conclusions. Before you make a decision, take the time to get all the information necessary. Assuming too much is a great way to make a poor decision.
8. Avoid impulsive actions. Calm yourself and make wise choices. Impulsive decisions are the result of strong emotions. Strong emotions and wisdom don’t mix. Wise people are able to allow their emotions to pass before they decide.
9. Know thyself. Study yourself. You’ve examined your successes and failures, but that’s not enough. Understand how you think and behave when you’re stressed, happy, tired, or frustrated. Become an expert on yourself. It’s much easier to fool yourself than it is to fool others.
10. Gain experience. A huge part of wisdom is experience. You don’t gain experience by sitting on the sidelines. You have to get in the game if you want to maximize your wisdom. Experience and wisdom go hand in hand.
Wisdom is a somewhat vague concept, but we all know it when we see it. Wise people see the big picture and never lose sight of the forest for the trees.
Wise people are self-aware, have a good understanding of human nature, and enough experience to have a strong foundation for their decisions. Some people seem to naturally possess more wisdom than others, but wisdom can be developed in anyone.
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