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Is WISDOM Useful in Our Everyday Lives?

This word can be thrown around a lot and I believe it deserves a deeper dive, some exploration, and understanding.

Let’s look at a couple definitions of Wisdom:

“The quality of having experience, knowledge, and good judgement; the quality of being wise.”


“The ability or result of an ability to think and act utilizing knowledge, experience, understanding, common sense, and insight.”

We see “experience” as well as “knowledge” in both of these definitions, so let’s dive into that a little bit.

Can we have wisdom without experience? I doubt it and I’ve never seen a person I would deem wise who is younger than, say, 45 or 50. They may say some wise things, but I don’t believe saying some wise things constitutes wisdom, per se. Wisdom is, or becomes, a way of living. It is a thread that weaves its way through us and through our actions, our thoughts and our actions and responses to our world.

I believe the acquisition of wisdom is directly proportional to our experience on this planet and is gained and deepened by paying attention, learning from mentors, finding quiet and contemplation. It can be enhanced with the acquisition of knowledge, as alluded to in the definitions above, but if we don’t bring what we learn to the pavement of life, the knowledge we acquire has no way to ripen. No way to integrate and deepen our understanding of others, our world, or ourselves.

Let’s look at knowledge for a moment. We can read, watch documentaries, listen to podcasts, etc. We can acquire what we deem to be knowledge, but what we do with it and with ourselves, is what determines how that knowledge weaves its way into wisdom … or not.

What happens if a person beholds knowledge as the end of the story? What if the acquisition of facts and figures and things I can stuff into my brain is all I deem important? Here is where we must use our common sense to determine if we’ve moved all of that knowledge, or at least some of it, into the wisdom bucket. Here’s how we find out:

- How are we treating ourselves? Wise people don’t treat themselves poorly.

- How are we treating others? Wise people will treat others in the way they’d like to be treated.

- Do we have some peace in our lives and in our hearts?

- Who are the people we’ve surrounded ourselves with? Do they provide toxins to our lives, or ballast?

There are a lot of questions to ask, but you get the idea.

In fact, knowledge can be a real impediment to wisdom because there are some who value filling their brains with “information,” above all other pursuits. If that’s where we stop, we might find ourselves lacking a key component to a life of true meaning.

What is it that I want to give away in this life? Knowledge? Do I want to be the person who confirms what anyone else in the world can look up on Google, or do I want to be the person that helps someone through a difficult time, because I’ve been there and acquired some wisdom which I can now utilize to help others?

Now these are not mutually exclusive, of course, and knowledge certainly has its value in this world. How else would we get to the moon or create better, more efficient vehicles?

Please keep in mind though, that knowledge can get in the way of wisdom, but wisdom would never get in the way of knowledge. Wisdom invites knowledge because it understands that it doesn’t know. Knowledge may not invite wisdom, because it may think it already knows.

As a final thought, I would just caution that in the acquisition of knowledge, we all keep in mind that Wisdom is the true prize. Why? Because it includes knowledge.

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