When you coach in college you tend to see the same things happen over and over again. I would tell the athletes my stories, I would tell them the stories of others, but little seemed to help each class avoid a bevy of mistakes the classes before them had made. Eventually I came to a sobering realization; people tend not to learn from your experiences, they learn from their own. This, I believe, is why wisdom is so hard earned, and takes so much time to accumulate.
I am wiser than I used to be, and far from wise. Someone once commented to me, “every year after I turned twenty-five, the wiser my parents became.” Maybe my biggest piece of wisdom is recognizing the prudence of seeking the wisdom of those who have come before me. I wonder if anyone can truly, effectively impart wisdom on another, but I can accelerate my own development by listening to the experience of others as I acquire my own.
Wisdom is responding to the right thing, with the right emotion, at the right time, in the right way. Wisdom is listening way more than speaking. Wisdom is focusing on what I can control and being okay with what I can’t. Wisdom is learning from the past while not lamenting it, staying in the present, and only traveling into the future to plan and dream. Wisdom is remembering that I don’t see things the way they are, I see things the way I am. It’s also being curious enough to seek to understand how someone else is seeing things. Wisdom is staying on the “learner path” and staying off the “judger path.” Wisdom is hearing the yearning, not the whining; knowing that people don’t want to be fixed but understood; and remembering that none of us is meant to go it alone.
Wisdom is often acquired through acute pain. Wisdom is going back to “Day Two” and remembering why I write, then taking that writing and connecting it with someone. Wisdom is using my writing to become the biggest influence in my life, then figuring out a baby step of productive action to move toward my true self.
What do you think wisdom is? Write.