Confucius once said that there were three ways to learn wisdom: “First, by reflection, which is noblest; second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.” Gaining wisdom, the most prized of virtues across almost all cultures, is an exercise in life learning, careful analysis, and thoughtful action.

Cultivate the mind of a beginner. Do you remember the first time you saw dinosaur bones at the museum? Or the first time you ate a really good peach? Your world expanded at that moment by a fraction and you became a little wiser. The Buddhist concept of “beginner’s mind” refers to the approach of a person just starting out, filled with the wonder of new learning, and being challenged anew by it. Always keep a curious and open mind.

Learning does not stop. Learning doesn’t stop just because you might have graduated from high school or college, or that you’ve got kids and have lots of experience you’d like to teach them. Even if you’re a teacher at the highest level or an expert in your field, you’re not done learning. A wise person questions their motivations, questions widely accepted knowledge, and learns to love asking questions in moments of ignorance, because a wise person knows when it is time to learn.

Slow down. Be still at least once a day, to allow yourself time to rest and to stop taking in the rush of the world. Being constantly busy and worrying incessantly about being seen as inadequate may make you a paragon of workplace virtue but it does not make you wise. Stop. Stand still. Take in what the unhurried perspective brings to you.

Wisdom is not a product of schooling but of the lifelong attempt to acquire it – Albert Einstein

Peace and Love, Jim

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