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Wisdom is a topic of interest to many people. It is, after all, an invaluable quality of life. True wisdom, though, is something else entirely. It’s one of the most elusive and challenging things to achieve. It’s also one of the most significant. Why does it seem so difficult to uncover? And why do we need it so much?
Although it seems to belong to a previous age, wisdom is something we can learn and develop throughout our lives. It is a form of intelligence that is not innate (present from birth) but learned through experience. We can all improve our wisdom by gaining new perspectives, broadening our horizons, and gaining new insights.
It explores the many positive benefits of having more of it. By answering the question, “What is true wisdom?”. We will also explore six essential qualities of wise people.
What is True Wisdom?
The idea of “wisdom” is often confused with “experience.” While wisdom is learned through experience, it is not the same as the wiser you become. It is not a state you “reach,” but rather one you “grow into.”
In truth, wisdom is neither a piece of specific knowledge nor a specific skill. Instead, it is a state of being characterized by a combination of qualities — most importantly, a sense of balance.
Proverbs 4:6-7 says, “Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you; love her, and she will watch over you. Wisdom is supreme; therefore, get knowledge. Though it takes all you have, get understanding.” All of us can use a guardian angel to watch over us.
While specific knowledge and skills can help facilitate this state, they are not true wisdom in themselves.
This is why we can all grow in wisdom and why we can all benefit from becoming wiser.
Essential Qualities of Wise People
There are many reasons people are called wise, but the key to wisdom is balance. To be innovative, you must see the world from multiple points of view, having a healthy degree of skepticism while remaining open-minded.
A wise man is a bundle of admirable qualities such as patience, composure, humility, faith in God’s omnipotence, forbearance, experience, hope, peace, and the ability to foresee.
At the same time, though, you must have a set of beliefs that are rooted in reality. Your thoughts must be consistent with your knowledge, but not necessarily the other way around.
If you combine these six qualities, you will have a strong foundation for true wisdom. So let’s examine each of them.
Belief in a Higher Power is true wisdom
First, you must have a belief in a higher power. It does not mean that you have to worship this power or that you have to believe that this power is genuinely “higher” than the others.
Instead, it means that you must believe that there is a force that is greater than yourself. You must believe in something that you can rely on when things go wrong, and that gives you strength when things go right.
Essentially, a higher power is something that you believe controls the universe. The sun, the moon, and even the universe itself can be considered nature. In the end, whatever you choose should be unique and personal to you. Simply put, it’s a power greater than yourself.
This might be a physical object, such as a rock, a tree, a house, or a piece of clothing. It can also be a concept, such as love or a desire to help others. Or something completely different, depending on your belief system.
Skepticism is another form of true wisdom
Next, you must be skeptical. This does not mean you are “afraid of being wrong” but relatively open to new ideas and facts. You are prepared to consider alternative explanations for things, and you are ready to change your mind when further information comes along.
Skeptics question whether something is genuine or authentic and are suspicious of anything that claims to be true. As far as values, plans, statements, or the character of others are concerned, he has a doubting attitude. He believes that religion or significant elements of it is false.
Skepticism encourages us to pause before assuming things based on what we hear or see. The goal of skepticism is systematic disbelief as a means of gaining knowledge. It is integral to the process of critical thinking.
Open-mindedness is gaining true wisdom
Finally, you must be open-minded. To be open-minded, you must be receptive to various ideas, arguments, and information. Open-mindedness is typically viewed positively. Therefore, it plays a vital role in thinking critically and rationally.
This does not mean that you are “easily impressed” but rather willing to let go of your preconceptions and judgments. You are open to new ideas, even if you don’t accept them right away.
You are also not stubbornly holding onto your beliefs, no matter how true they may be, simply because there is a “cult of personality.” In other words, you do not blindly obey authority figures simply because they are authorities.
Whenever you recognize and respect another person’s views and practices, you will be able to build more harmonious relationships. As individuals and society, we can progress when we cooperate and put our differences aside.
Now let’s talk about knowledge. A person or thing has knowledge when they are familiar with, aware of, or understand something. This knowledge includes information, data, definitions, or abilities gained from experience or education by experiencing, finding, or researching. Any theoretical or practical understanding of a topic can be considered knowledge.
There are many forms of knowledge, including but not limited to:
- Spatial knowledge
- Temporal knowledge
- Logical knowledge
- Verbal knowledge
- Numerical knowledge
- Anthropological knowledge
Knowledge not only accumulates but also grows exponentially. Therefore, it is easier for those with a rich foundation of factual knowledge to learn more. Moreover, accurate knowledge enhances cognitive processes like reasoning and problem-solving.
By having knowledge, one can solve life’s problems. Information sharpens our abilities in reasoning and deductive reasoning. Our brains function more efficiently and effectively when we have access to a broad knowledge base. This makes us more intelligent and more capable of solving problems.
Wisdom is a Form of Intelligence
The essence of wisdom is a combination of qualities — most importantly, a sense of balance. However, it is pertinent to note that wisdom is not a specific knowledge, skill, or even a trait. Instead, it is a state of being.
Wisdom, then, is a form of intelligence — the ability to think and reason correctly. It is the knowledge that you use to guide your actions, and it is developed through experience.
You can think of intelligence as the ability to solve problems. To be wise, you need to be able to solve problems.
In particular, you need to be able to solve problems that have solutions that you don’t know. The key here is to have a “sense of balance” — you need to be able to see the problem from multiple points of view and then choose the best course of action.
Wisdom is a Positive Trait
Now that we know, “What is true wisdom?” let’s talk about why we should care. After all, as we’ve just explored, wisdom is something that everyone can develop, no matter their age, background, or circumstances.
You may never have realized just how valuable wisdom is, but now that you do, you can make a conscious effort to increase your level of it.
This is significant for two reasons.
First, having true wisdom is a positive trait. In other words, you know your own strengths and weaknesses, and you are self-aware. This is a perfect thing because it allows you to grow and develop as a person.
Second, increasing your level of wisdom will make you happier in the long run. This is because proper understanding consists of knowledge, skills, and attitudes that help you succeed and satisfy with life. Having this, you will not be as likely to be stressed out or upset by things that happen in your life, and you will be able to better enjoy the present moment.
Wisdom is ultimately something that you have to give to yourself. It is not easy to do because it requires a significant level of self-reflection. It also requires you to view yourself as an object — not an extension, but a subject — of inquiry.
The rewards are substantial, and it is possible. Once you start cultivating a sense of true wisdom, you will notice that it starts to flow effortlessly. You may even find that people are spontaneously drawn to you for your calm, thoughtful demeanor.