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What is true wisdom? Wisdom, according to Wikipedia, is the ability to think and act using knowledge, experience, understanding, common sense, and insight. Wisdom is one of the most outstanding qualities that a human being possesses. It is associated with attributes such as common sense, compassion, love, unbiased judgment, virtues, ethics, etc. The great scientist and philosopher Socrates said, “I cannot teach anybody anything.
I can only make them think.” This implies that nobody can teach wisdom. It is the ability to think and make the right decisions based on intelligence, insight, and experience. Wisdom is not specific to the educated only or those with the best acquired or learned skills, although they might play essential roles in how vast the knowledge we have will help build wisdom in us.
The Oxford English Dictionary defines true wisdom as the capacity of judging rightly in matters relating to life and conduct; soundness of judgment in the choice of means and ends; sometimes, less strictly, sound sense, especially in practical affairs. We are all blessed with the gift of wisdom; harnessing it is where some of us have issues. Some people do not think before acting; they act and then think. This leads to regret. True wisdom is often confused with knowledge or intelligence, but they go hand-in-hand. Some people with high IQs can make stupid decisions in their life. There are many misconceptions about wisdom.
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN KNOWLEDGE AND TRUE WISDOM
Knowledge and wisdom look so much alike. Sometimes, knowledge can be used in place of wisdom. The difference is far apart, and so are their similarities. A person can know and not have wisdom, but a person cannot have wisdom without knowledge. That sounds confusing, right? I will break it down for you.
What is knowledge?
Knowledge refers to a learned fact, information, or skill acquired through education or training. It is also referred to as what is gained from the understanding of a field or subject topic. Knowledge involves learning and understanding. Until these two conditions are met and satisfied, you cannot consider yourself as having “knowledge” in something.
What is True Wisdom?
True Wisdom is the ability to differentiate between good or bad, making excellent and decisive judgments from one’s experience and knowledge gained. A person can’t have wisdom without having the basis—which is knowledge. Knowledge is the base root of having wisdom. Knowledge is the education you have, the information you have, and the skill you have acquired but wisdom is the ability to put these things above into action and making productive use of them.
There are some other misconceptions about what True wisdom is.
Understanding: Wisdom and understanding are two different things entirely; Understanding is said to have been made when you learn or gain information and acquire wisdom. Until you understand to gain knowledge, you cannot gain wisdom. It is a process, and wisdom is the endpoint of both understanding and knowledge.
Intelligence: Another thing people think wisdom is, is intelligence. Intelligence can retain knowledge, use it in some problem-solving-related issues, or have a high IQ. Intelligence is very similar to wisdom because both refer to retaining knowledge and using it when necessary to attain the desired result. Do you know that being intelligent doesn’t mean you are wise? An intelligent person can apply the knowledge he has gained from education or during training to solve problems related to education, technology, and other fields, but wisdom is more than that. Wisdom is applying the knowledge is more severe matters that pertain to life and its application.
An intelligent person is not a wise person. A person might be intelligent and achieve the highest peak of his career and lack wisdom. Wisdom cuts across how you spend your money, how you settle disputes among associates and families etc. Being intelligent doesn’t guarantee wisdom.
Insight: Insight is another thing people think wisdom is. Most of the time, when we see someone with insight, we tend to conclude that they are wise quickly. But what is insight? Insight is the ability to see and understand things clearly, sometimes a future happening or possibility. Insight and wisdom seem to look alike, but insight is part of being wise. A person might be insightful and still be foolish. We have had great scientists who are very knowledgeable and full of understanding but died a foolish death. Wisdom cannot be learned.
CHARACTERISTICS OF A WISE PERSON
They are disciplined: Self-control and zero tolerance of indiscipline are critical attributes of a person with wisdom. Wise people understand the logic of life, the principle of self-control, and self-discipline. A person might be very wealthy and affluent in all aspects but still suffer from covetousness or lousiness. Wisdom is not a product of wealth or accomplishment. The higher you go in life, the more wisdom you need. There was a time when I was reading about the biggest jackpots in the United States. I read the story of some people who were only billionaires for a few moments; even some didn’t last for two days. One thing is to know how to attain wealth; wisdom sustains wealth.
Educate themselves: Wise people always “talk to their senses.” That’s the word that explains it better. They educate themselves daily and try to have new understandings. They read research and learn because true wisdom cannot come without all these things. Stagnant wisdom cannot go far because the world is updated within seconds, and if you don’t learn new things to gain more wisdom, the wisdom for today might not be enough for the challenges of tomorrow.
They learn from their mistakes and move on: Do you know that being wise doesn’t mean that you are free from mistakes? You are not a robot or a programmed machine; you are created with feelings and emotions. So, when making some decisions, we are at times clouded with these feelings and emotions, making decisions not based on validity but convenience. In such cases, mistakes are bound to happen. Wise people learn from their mistakes and move on. They show wisdom by learning from such mistakes and not committing the same mistake again. Wise people admit and learn from their mistakes and use these mistakes as a learning opportunity.
They take heed to instructions and corrections: Many people have argued if it is wise to heed to instructions irrespective of the repercussion on innocent people when they say wise people take heed to instructions. Taking heed to instruction in this context means weighing it and judging it as good or bad. Wisdom is doing the right thing, so obeying instructions that will harm the innocent majority is not wisdom. Also, improvising and obeying instructions when the initial set conditions are no longer in place is wisdom. There might have been certain conditions that would prompt some actions; a wise man improvises and still obeys the instruction.
They are guided by what they have learned, known, and teach: Wisdom is essential, and a wise person would live by wisdom. They don’t care about what other people think about them or what they feel; they do what is right. Many people prioritize material things over other important things. For instance, money, position, wealth, riches over family, friends, and relationships. These things are good to have, but wise people don’t place them as the main priority.
HOW TO BUILD WISDOM
- Try new things: A stagnant wisdom is dead wisdom. To acquire wisdom, you must learn, research, and try new things to gain knowledge and understanding to have more wisdom. Trying new things makes you gain experience, and you become wiser. When you try new things, you have the opportunity to make mistakes, learn and gain experience.
- Learn from others: Learning from others increases your knowledge. You can benefit from their mistakes and their success stories. Wisdom is putting acquired knowledge into action and part of it learning from other people’s mistakes and success stories. Success stories help you set your path right, and these are experiences of people who have journeyed along this similar path of yours before.
- Make mistakes: Making mistakes as human beings are inevitable. When we try to perfect our decisions and judgment, we make more mistakes. Wise people are not scared to make mistakes; they learn from the mistake.
- Connect with like minds: To build wisdom, you must surround yourself and always connect with wise people. Wise words and notions are foolish to dumb people, and those you surround yourself with will enhance your growth and development positively or negatively.
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