Wisdom is our individual ability to think, understand and act using experience and insight to make rational decisions.
Wisdom is NOT an inborn ability. In order to gain wisdom, we must nurture some specific skills and accumulate experience over the years. The more experience you gain, the wiser you will become.
But wisdom also relies on internal and external factors, not just skills and experience. At the end of the day, wisdom is directly connected to our ego.
Our ego is an unconscious entity liasing with our conscious mind, the part of our brain driving decisions, and mediating between our personal identity and our perception of the external reality. Our ego is the mechanism defining our view of ourselves and the world around us.
Thus, our family, socioeconomic environment, background, education, and our willingness to learn, are the 5 key external factors influencing the development of our ego, and as a result, facilitating or restricting our ability to be wise.
The list below summarizes the 10 common characteristics all wise people have in common.
The 10 Common Characteristics Of Wise People
# 1 Cultivated:
In learning to know other things and other minds, we become more intimately acquainted with ourselves and are to ourselves better worth knowing. – Philip Gilbert Hamilton
# 2 Compassionate:
Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them humanity cannot survive. – Dalai Lama
# 3 Good listeners:
Good listeners have a huge advantage. For one, when they engage in conversation, they make people ‘feel’ heard. They ‘feel’ that someone really understands their wants, needs, and desires. And for good reason; a good listener does care to understand. – Simon Sinek
# 4 Nonconformists:
Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing, you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.” – Apple Inc.
# 5 Open-minded:
Your assumptions are your windows on the world. Scrub them off every once in a while, or the light won’t come in.” – Isaac Asimov
# 6 Problem-centered:
Saving our planet, lifting people out of poverty, advancing economic growth… these are one and the same fight. We must connect the dots between climate change, water scarcity, energy shortages, global health, food security and women’s empowerment. Solutions to one problem must be solutions for all.– Ban Ki-moon
# 7 Reflective:
Take time out to reflect on yourself. Do you like what you see? Do you wish to change some attitudes, traits, and habits? Remember, it is never too late to change. – Hui-Neng
# 8 Humorful:
A keen sense of humor helps us to overlook the unbecoming, understand the unconventional, tolerated the unpleasant, overcome the unexpected, and outlast the unbearable – Billy Graham
# 9 Unselfish:
Happiness is spiritual, born of truth and love. It is unselfish; therefore it cannot exist alone but requires all mankind to share it. – Mary Baker Eddy
# 10 Willing:
There are many persons ready to do what is right because in their hearts they know it is right. But they hesitate, waiting for the other fellow to make the make the first move – and he, in turn, waits for you. – Marian Anderson
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Jordi is the Managing Principal Consultant at Key Strategic Chain Solutions, a management consulting firm specializing in Executive Coaching, Organizational Strategy and Portfolio Management.