Wisdom is a virtue that isn’t innate, but can only be acquired through experience. Anyone who is interested in trying new things and reflecting on the process has the ability to gain wisdom. By learning as much as you can, analyzing your experiences and putting your knowledge to the test, you can become a wiser person.
Try new things. It’s hard to gain wisdom when you stay in and do the same thing day after day. You get wiser when you put yourself out there and give yourself the opportunity to learn, make mistakes and reflect on the experience. If you tend to be on the inhibited side, work on cultivating an inquisitive spirit and the willingness to put yourself in new situations. Every time you experience something new, you open yourself up to the possibility of learning and getting a little wiser for having tried it.
Step out of your comfort zone. If you’re afraid to do something, perhaps that’s the very thing you should try to do. When you have to deal with an awkward or scary situation, you come out on the other side better equipped to handle fear the next time you face it. As Eleanor Roosevelt 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.”
Make an effort to talk to people you don’t know very well. Talk to people from different backgrounds and with different perspectives from yours, and pay attention to what you can learn from them. Try not to judge them based on your own narrow point of view. The more you’re able to empathize with others, the wiser you will be.
It’s easy to base our views on the limited experiences we’ve had in life, but that’s not the way to gain wisdom. You can’t help that you’ve grown up in a certain place with certain people, but you can decide how open you are to learning about different ways of life to develop a bigger and wiser perspective.
Peace and Love, Jim