What is Wisdom? SILKMentoring define wisdom as “the mindful application of what is True or Right to facilitate the discovery of our own truth and putting it into action”.
Wisdom Applicable to Everyone:
True and Right are at the level of universal laws, referring to those Truths that would be applicable to everyone. Such Truths are generally grounded in religious and spiritual teaching and ancient traditions. They are seldom questioned. An example might by the universal principles of “trustworthiness”, which is the foundation of all positive human interactions. If trustworthiness were to be erased as a precondition for fruitful human relationships, it would clearly entail negative personal and societal consequences. Conversely, mindful consideration of trustworthiness in human relationship ensures individual and group interests. Another example of a universal Truth is the notion of “equality”. While it is still far from being universally practiced, the eradication of prejudices of race, religion, sex, culture, etc., are universally aspired.
Application of Personal Wisdom:
Our own truths are generally more modest and less critical that the truths with a capital T, and this is fine, as long as they don’t violate the big T truths! A personal truth generally originates in ones culture, family upbringing or education. A personal truth might be that discipline is a good thing, or that hard work leads to success, or that patience should be practiced in all things. Personal truths have a lot to do with virtues; most people agree that they exist and are important, but they can debate their order of importance or the relevance of context.
So, what does all this have to do with Wisdom? A lot, because wisdom ultimately is a person’s capacity to recognize and act upon Truths and truths in a deliberate, consistent and productive manner.
How do I know I am being wise?
There are several ways. First, we are taught by others about true and right. Examples and exemplars are important. Next, we feel….Every human being has a thing called “conscience” (unless you are a psychopath!) which tells your deepest heart when something is true or right. Trust this feeling, don’t question it and don’t push it aside when it is time to act! Wisdom is not aggressive, but it is persistent! That nagging feeling you feel when you are ignoring something, that’s wisdom talking to you! Next, watch the impact your truth has on others! Observing and understanding other people’s responses to your truths and actions will help you know whether you acted with wisdom. Realize that everyone has access to wisdom, so if your truth clashes with someone else’s and they are visibly hurt, upset or manifest some other negative trait, your actions may be lacking wisdom!
Mentoring is Applied Wisdom
Interaction is an important part of wisdom. We sometime have this image of wisdom as an old man, surrounded by books in a dusty room, by himself, sunk in deep taught. But what is the value of wisdom if it isn’t shared? True wisdom is tested through and expressed in the collective, in other words in interaction with others! Wise people help others gain wisdom! This is a process of course. As we grow older and are exposed to more learning in life, we slowly begin to understand who we are and what is important to us. We also gradually begin to see that focusing only on ourselves satisfies only to a point. We begin to seek a greater purpose to our existence, and those who find it generally attest that such purpose is to connect with and be of service to others. Here’s where wisdom meets action. Taking action implies actively looking around to see who can benefit from what you know and have, who to pass it forward to. This is the essence of mentoring.
We seldom tell people “wow, you exercised wisdom in that situation” or “that was wise decision-making”; this may be because we do not really know what wisdom means. Hence, SILKMentoring believes wisdom in action requires:
Humility; the tree that bares the most fruits bends lowest to the earth. A person who shares her life lessons humbly and positively impacts others.
Sensitivity; understanding the needs of others, your own life lessons might be more than others can bear.
Perspective; understanding the capacity and context of others, your cup might be their spoonful or maybe they have a bucket!
Wisdom is one of those qualities that requires time, experiences, space and will before it manifests itself in us. It is the connection of mind, heart, spirit, learning, experience and relationship which ultimately shows itself as wisdom.
How to begin practicing wisdom?
- Educate yourself
- Grow and test your capacities
- Empower others
Educate yourself with a humble posture of learning. Your cup can never be full enough. Every new thing you learn opens doors and possibilities for you and those come in contact and share yourself with.
Grow and test your capacities by exposing yourself to experiences and people. Take the time to understand something. Whatever you are good at, practice it some more until you feel you can do it effortlessly. Whatever capacity you need to improve on, talk to others, learn from their styles and try your own hand at teaching it to someone else.
Empowering others requires humility, sensitivity and perspective. To empower is not to teach or train anyone. It is accompanying someone on their own growth process. It is sharing what you know and the lessons you have learned in life with others so that they benefit to grow and become.
Finally, understand that wisdom is not limited by age, education or experience. Whatever you have to share, share it. When shared, wisdom multiplies.