In today’s society information and knowledge rule. Everyone seeks to explain, understand, and accumulate facts, but those things are not necessarily wisdom. Some say that wisdom is applied knowledge, while others define wisdom as the synthesis of knowledge and experience which enables a deeper understanding and insight. Maturity can bring wisdom since aging provides us with experience. Unfortunately, many of us have access to an abundance of knowledge and information, but still lack wisdom. Is there something that gets in the way of relying on wisdom? Why is common sense not so common?
Often times clients of mine will suggest that my recommendations are just common sense, which at times is correct. However their ability to apply wisdom and common sense to a situation doesn’t always work out. What often gets in the way is negative emotion, conflict, and unresolved issues. Finding the root of psychological issues and helping a client to confront and heal from the pain is what therapy is all about. Wisdom can come from age, but it also comes from awareness and insight. Knowing yourself and being sensitive to other’s needs and emotions can also increase one’s wisdom.
In practical terms, wisdom is knowing when to “shut up” and when to “speak up.” Timing, tone, and tact can make or break a verbal exchange. Being wise requires patience, self-control, and kindness, which are some of the fruits of the spirit from Galatians 5:22-23 and facilitates wisdom. Seeking to understand others before demanding to be understood evokes wisdom. When we communicate assertively and respectfully without interrupting or talking over others we are manifesting wisdom. Author, speaker, and pastor, John Maxwell has a great quote, “people do not care how much you know until they know how much you care.” Treating others with respect, even those that you dislike, takes humility and maturity which also breeds wisdom. Learning to let go of the pain from the past can also promote wisdom. Lastly, wisdom comes from the intangibles in relationships so pay attention to others’ non-verbal cues, trust your instincts, and rely on your heart not just your head.