Wisdom isn’t exclusive

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[vimeo id="82042405"] We believe a lot of the wrong things about “wisdom.” We assume that someone is wise because they’re a certain age or they have a certain job title. We think that because someone is smart, they’re also wise. We look at others and think, “They’ve accomplished so much - they must be a really wise person.” The truth is that none of these have anything to do with wisdom. They might be indicators, but just because someone is accomplished doesn’t mean they're a wise person.

A few weeks ago, I ran across a podcast by Michael Hyatt where he shared the difference between the wise and the foolish. He did a great job of explaining that wisdom is not about position, intelligence, or talent. Conversely, he explained how young leaders and uneducated or less-skilled people can also become wise.

What’s the key to wisdom? The truth that Michael shared in his podcast is something I’ve told so many university students and leaders: Wisdom is about being teachableWise people know that there’s always something to learn, no matter their stage of life.

Whatever stage of life you’re in, here are a few keys to gaining wisdom:

  • Wisdom starts with humility. The only way you gain wisdom is by believing that you don’t have all the answers. Humility opens the door for you to learn from your past experiences and from others without being defensive or close-minded.
  • Wisdom requires you to accept responsibility and own your decisions. People who are wise don’t place blame on others. They accept responsibility for their decisions and actions. They also realize that wisdom doesn’t mean we have all the answers, but it means having the confidence to move forward regardless of the outcomes.
  • Wisdom prompts you to take action. People who are wise don’t wait to take action to avoid an inevitably bad decision. They act quickly based on the advice or insights they receive.

We all know people who have made some pretty bad decisions. In fact, most of us have made poor choices throughout life and hopefully we learned from them. Conversely, we probably know some others who seem to always make wise decisions. The key to wisdom isn’t age or experience. It’s about embracing every situation with an attitude of humility, learning as much as possible about ourselves, and ultimately using that information to take right action.

Who are some of the wisest people you know? What characteristics define them?