You might have often heard the advice to ‘be wise’ or ‘choose wisely’. Have you ever wondered how one becomes wise? Before going down that road, it helps to first understand wisdom’s true meaning.
The typical dictionary definition is as follows:
- having the power of discerning and judging properly as to what is true or right; possessing discernment, judgment, or discretion.
- characterized by or showing such power; judicious or prudent:
a wise decision.
- possessed of or characterized by scholarly knowledge or learning; learned; erudite: wise in the law.
- having knowledge or information as to facts, circumstances, etc.:
We are wiser for their explanations.
The quality of being wise means having experience, knowledge, and the ability to act in situations while applying both. It is how a person contemplates what they already know, draws upon it and reacts accordingly. Having wisdom is being sound and understanding while using insight and common sense. A person can perceive their inner qualities and relationships. Thus, wisdom is far more than merely a word.
Knowledge and wisdom are two words that people tend to use interchangeably. However, there is a unique yet important difference between both the terms. Knowledge is the learned information you understand and store in your mind. At the same time, wisdom is the second step, where you soundly apply the acquired information to different situations in life. For instance, knowledge is the acquisition of learning by reading, writing, and understanding.
In comparison, wisdom is practically putting that learning to use. Knowing that exercise is good for health is knowing. Inculcating work out in your daily routine to gain fitness is an act of wisdom. Simply put, wisdom can also refer to putting knowledge into action.
Wisdom is a characteristic that has to be developed, and it is not innate within humans. It directly relates to not only the experience of one’s lifetime but also the analysis and understanding of it. Reflecting upon one’s past and learning fruitful outcomes from it is the key to developing a wise personality. Anyone who is open to challenges and always ready to learn and change possesses the possibility of becoming a wiser person in life. Without a shrine of doubt, it is one of those qualities that people desire to have more and more. Being emotionally and cognitively wise is another aspect of this distinctive trait.
Do you wish to gain wisdom and become a wiser person? Well, who wouldn’t want that? Here are a variety of vaious ways and tips to practice and increase your wisdom. Continue reading and start your journey of wisdom…
1. Gain Experience
“Information is not knowledge. The only source of knowledge is experience. You need the experience to gain wisdom”, said Albert Einstein. One thing is for sure, and you cannot learn wisdom from books alone. Unlike knowledge that can be easily extracted from books. To attain wisdom, experience is essential. Aim to gain as much life experience as you can. That is only possible if you live fearlessly where possible. Take as many of the chances life throws at you and do your very best at all of them. Moreover, there is something immensely beautiful about firsthand experiences. Set aside your fears and indulge in what you would really want to do.
Simultaneously, it is important to remember that we are only humans, and it is okay to fail. Failure itself is an integral experience and is necessary to build endurance to overcome any challenging situation ever. Get the first opportunity you get to travel around the world and experience places different from your home country. There is a lot you can learn from other people and their cultures. The more abilities you expose yourself to, the better chances you get to apply your insight in various aspects of life. Eventually, leading to building your experience, followed by increasing wisdom.
Read this article for more on this topic: How to Learn From Failure.
2. Leave Your Comfort Zone
Fright can, at times, become your biggest strength. If something scares you, that is exactly what you should try to do. Overcoming your fears can greatly help you handle situations better next time. Not only does it play a huge role in collecting experience, but it also makes you a stronger person as a result. As Eleanor Roosevelt once 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.”
For example, if you are afraid of speaking to an audience, take it as a challenge. Volunteer for public speaking opportunities and build your confidence. You may feel a little agitated or shy at first, but trust us, you will master the art of speaking in public after a few tries. Stepping out of your comfort will make you realise how much is out there to learn and rise from. This practice will also help you develop a sense of judgment for your own good and others.
Read this article for more on this topic: Step Out of Your Comfort Zone.
3. Be Non-judgmental
It is not always necessary to have an opinion. Staying neutral and open-minded can help you in the long run. You can better observe and divulge into your surroundings when you avoid preconceptions. Being unbiased is the key here. Despite being hard to practice, it is a useful way to work towards becoming wiser. It is better to devise an observation of the situation and see how you can apply it.
Moreover, before judging someone, you should look for the reasons why they think the way they do. It is crucial to know that everybody has different experiences in life, and your views will clash with other people’s beliefs. Additionally, it is advised to look at a situation with multiple aspects and then form a conclusion instead of passing judgment on your little experience. You have to be open to change and accept how people lead different lives from you. The best practice can be to do your own homework and research. Consider both sides of a story before deciding to pass a comment. This would also greatly help you to construct your perspective better. Surprisingly enough, when we do this, dealing with things seems to feel a little easier.
4. Own Up to Your Mistakes
When they say, ‘we learn from our mistakes, they are right. It is true because we learn from our mistakes, which helps us become a better version of ourselves. Nobody likes the idea of seeming like a failure. But life is not a smooth road. It comes with its fair share of obstacles. While trying to portray the best image of ourselves to the world, it is normal for human beings to make blunders. In this race of being perfect and avoiding failures, we often forget that the best method to learn is by trial and error.
There is always a first time for everything. Remember when you first learned how to talk, walk, and read? The key is to keep trying. Even if you make mistakes, own up to them, and learn from them. Once you have made an error, you will know what not to do the next time you are at it. Not everyone dares to own up to their mistakes. Which eventually leads them to make the same ones over and over again. Accepting yourself and working toward progress is the right way to develop wisdom. By doing this, not only are you being honest with yourself but also valuing your worth.
5. Talk Less, Listen More!
Knowledge speaks, but wisdom listens! When you learn about a newfound topic of your interest, you love talking about it, don’t you? You sometimes end up talking so confidently that you take pride in knowing the subject inside out. This is, of course, great, but a wise act would be humbly addressing whatever you have acquired and accepting that there is still a lot to learn. This is the difference in the action of being just knowledgeable as compared to being wise.
The best way to learn wisdom is by enriching yourself with education. You will have to practice listening. When you build the habit of talking less and listening more, you grant yourself the space to nurture your ideas. By doing this, you will also grab increased attention when you speak. People notice you when you speak less because you will make an impact whenever you do. Furthermore, doing so will also help you to be a stronger conversationalist. A golden tip to continuous self-development and wisdom.
6. Learn to Unlearn
According to Socrates, the only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing. You must come out of the bubble of your limited information and experience. In order to become wiser, it is important to learn to unlearn. Know that human beings are flawed creatures and are in a never-edging struggle to achieve perfection. Thus, what you think or cannot always be necessarily right. It is important to accept that learning is a continual process. Sometimes it is integral to unlearn things that may hinder our learning process, which may lead to a lack of wisdom. To ensure your learning is on the right track, it is vital to check on your progress and see where we should unlearn to advance the level of wisdom.
7. Be Open to Change
Formulating your point of view on the knowledge you already have is okay. But it is not guaranteed that what you know is the final word. We live in a super dynamic era where being versatile is one of the top qualities of an individual. When you are open to change, it is easier for you to know the difference between right and wrong by questioning the situation. This develops a strong analytical power where you can think constructively and critically. Doing so will gain further knowledge and perspective, which would eventually help you mend the problem if there is one. Moreover, it would encourage you to adjust to new surroundings as life brings challenges. You will only become stronger and wiser by allowing yourself to change and adapt to different circumstances.
8. Seek Wise Mentors
Human beings coexist for so many reasons. We look forward to living a fulfilling life by making the most of what we have and strengthening our relationships with the ones close to us. To become wise is one trait that everyone looks up to. It is not a genetic factor; thus, we have to develop it over time while learning from our experiences. One way of doing so is by looking up to other people. There are multiple ways to do that. The reason life is not the same for everybody is the difference in our experiences. This can be done by idealising your elders.
Listening closely to when you are being taught. It is highly fruitful to make friends and connect with people who have a better way of life than you. This will provide you with the opportunity to learn from their lifestyle, their past experiences, and mistakes altogether to develop the wisdom you need to lead a successful life. Making a habit of listening to pep talks, struggle stories, and speeches on how to build character can motivate you a lot. Experience sure is a master teacher, and it gives you an endless scope of learning even when it is not your own.
In a quantitative study consisting of almost 1,000 older adults, it was found that wisdom served as an effectual guard against the negative effects of unfortunate events on well-being. This study clearly reveals that wisdom surely comes with experience. As we age, we develop the tendency to become wiser with the passage of time and the occurrence of events in our lives. As previously discussed, learning is an ongoing process, and so is the development of wisdom. As time passes and life happens, we learn the ability to think critically and analyse situations on our own. Revisiting your views time and again will help you do the right things when the time is right.
Put simply, the journey of life itself is of gaining wisdom. It is what differentiates human beings from one another. Being wise helps an individual on every level of their well-being. Learning to give out love, compassion, and empathy are the essentials you need to inculcate wisdom within you.
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