Wisdom is considered a virtue by every religious and philosophical tradition spanning thousands of years. An ancient proverb states – "How much better to get wisdom than gold, to choose understanding rather than silver!"
Why? What exactly is wisdom and what does it really mean to be "wise"?
Wisdom is defined as "the quality of having experience, knowledge, and good judgment. It is the ability to use personal knowledge and experience to make good decisions and judgments; the quality or state of being wise; knowledge of what is true or right coupled with just judgment as to action; sagacity, discernment, or insight."
The definition of wise – "someone who uses good judgment, has common sense or is well informed". Wisdom is the result of learning.
To truly learn, we must be able to see clearly without emotional sabotage blinding our view. That means putting personal emotions aside and controlling thoughts, feelings and actions and not allowing the negative behaviour or depressive attitude of others to affect us.
And that is precisely why, when the question arises - "who is the wisest person you know" the answer often comes back as someone older and more experienced.
Many seniors are simply better prepared though years of tempered experiences to tend to their emotions allowing wisdom to take centre stage rather than narrowed egoic emotions.
But wisdom is not something limited to those of extended years because wisdom does not bloom from experience alone. Wisdom blooms as the result of inner reflection on the lessons one gains through their experiences.
It is a virtue that once earned, is given to anyone who seeks and acts with an open heart and mind – to those who seek it and seek to express it.
Here are a few valuable tips that help us to "think as a wise man thinks … and act as a "wise man acts".
Act with a goal and a purpose in mind
Spontaneous actions are great when vacationing or off playing for the day, but success in life requires more than that. Wise men employ both logic and intuition when faced with goals/decisions.
To avoid creating problems, it's best to copy the "wise man" and plan and think things through ahead of time using logic and intuition.
Use affirmations empowered with positive thought
Wise people are positive thinkers but even they are subject to negative thoughts on occasion. However, a wise person plans for this. They take the time to train their minds and temper their emotions before negative thought disturbances occur. This gives them the upper hand.
A "wise mind" recognises negativity immediately and blasts it with a statement that immediately transforms it into a positive. Positive quotes or affirmations, once memorised, become warriors against pesky negative thought forms.
Those whose emotions run wild will be blinded by personal views that block the light of wisdom and keep them locked in their "narrow personal interpretation and vision". "Simple things are also the most extraordinary things, and only the wise can see them."
Retain personal power and accept others for who they are
Humans tend to want to change other humans so that they align more perfectly with their personal vision of how life should be. Problem is, it does not work.
People are who they are. We must accept them and give them the space to express for the same reason we want that respect in return. The only one anyone of us is empowered to change is ourselves and our own attitudes.
We cannot worry about what others think, do, or say because it is not our job to change them. If we do not align with their vision, we can adjust our own attitudes and beliefs or shift out of/remove ourselves completely from the situation.
But to try to change others is futile and a waste of valuable energy.
Discipline, patience and living within your means
It is wisdom not wealth that gets us through life. However, wisdom is behind all financial success.
A wise person gathers information and weighs options before acting. This comes into play with their finances as well. Just as they are disciplined and tempered with their thought processes and choose to act rather than react, they are disciplined as well with their finances and patiently save enough to purchase items they love before spending rather than impulsively squandering and spending in the moment.
Wise people do not like to waste time, money, or energy. They keep their eyes on the bigger picture while focused and working in the moment. They give up short-term temporary rewards for bigger, more valuable permanent ones.
Set priorities and take risks
Wise people are ahead of the game because they set priorities. They move with laser focus on what demands attention first before moving onto something else and they are not afraid of risk.
Rarely has anyone reached success of any kind without taking some sort of risk. It is an energy exchange – "risk vs reward". The higher the risk, the greater the reward. Energy in and energy out.
Remember the wise words that Buddha left us with – "A man is not called wise because he talks and talks again; but if he is peaceful, loving and fearless then he is in truth called wise."
Wisdom is the result of doing, not talking. It is our reward for getting out of our "comfort zone", for not being afraid of making mistakes and reflecting and growing from those that we do make. It is what separates and distinguishes great leaders from those left behind.
Wisdom is the virtue that guides other virtues towards good. The sooner we unlearn our inherited and worn-out prejudices, let go of our fears and release false definitions and assumptions, the wiser we all become on a personal level and the happier, more empathetic, creative, and prosperous the world will be.
• Carolyn Hansen is co-owner of Anytime Fitness.