Wisdom ― What is Wisdom? How Do You Become Wise?

What is Wisdom?― How Do You Become Wise?

We recognize the people who have it.  And we recognize those who need it.  How can you get more?

What is Wisdom?

Wisdom is an interesting subject.  But what is this quality? Some say it’s the practice of reason and common sense.  Still, others argue that it has more to do with our connection to intuition.  Perhaps its finely tuned observational skills?  Is it the ability to assess data and circumstances and as a result draw sound conclusions?  Or, is it more likely a mixture of knowledge, perceptive ability, and judgment?

“Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.”
― Aristotle

Maybe this isn’t the right question.  Perhaps wisdom comes in different forms?  In that case, we should ask what is wisdom for this situation? Is this the key to knowing what mental skills to use?  Are there situations where intuition is a better option than reason common sense or observational skills?  So, it’s more like enlightened judgment with an uncanny ability to understand the underlying root cause.

No matter how you define this quality, we value the people who show it in their words and actions.  So, it’s only natural to ask, how do you become wise?  Is this a skill set anyone can gain?  Or are there restrictions on gaining it like IQ, for instance?

One thing is for sure, wisdom doesn’t come easily.  Living a long life doesn’t make you wise.  However, living longer increases the probability of accumulating knowledge or experience which might make you wise. If you are young, it doesn’t mean you can’t be wise.  People can show wisdom at any age.  

reason and common sense, observational skills

Observational Skills, Reason and Common Sense

Some people are just lucky.  They are born with enhanced analytical and cognitive abilities.  They seem to understand the root cause and then find practical solutions.  And they are the ones who come up with new ideas.  But this doesn’t mean they have social skills in the same proportion.  So, just because they aren’t assertive or well-known doesn’t mean they don’t have this quality. 

People from all personalities and backgrounds show reason and common sense in their daily lives.   However, even those with these natural abilities are more likely to do things to enhance their observational skills. 

If others in your family are wise, this is no guarantee you’ll inherit this attribute.  And, what’s more, you cannot buy it.  Similarly, suffering and pain do not always produce wisdom.  Making a lot of mistakes does not make you wise.  We observe people repeating bad experiences and making the same mistakes repeatedly.  

Does being Wise, Differ from Intuition?

Intuition is the ability to know something without the use of a rational thought process.  In other words, the answer or solution magically appears in our awareness.  It’s an instinctive hunch.  If the answer or solution is correct, perhaps this also the exercise of wisdom?  So, getting in touch with the voice of our intuition is probably a good idea.  Does this oppose the analytical approach?

You could say that reason and common sense complement intuition.  If you get confirmation of your answer by both methods, you are probably on track.  Similarly, if your intuition confirms what your observational skills tell you, then again you probably have the best answer.  So, in fact, they are not opposing forces.  They all work together.  These mental approaches are all part of the mental toolbox.  If we are wise, we will cultivate them all.  Thus, we will enhance our overall problem-solving abilities.

Those we recognize as being wise have the full package.  They show a high level of intuition, common sense and reasoning, and possess good observational skills.  These types of people seem one step ahead of everyone else.  So, analytical skills and intuition go hand in hand.  The Dalai Lama for instance.

How Do You Become Wise?

intuition and self-development

Wisdom comes in various ways.

One of the least painful ways is to learn from the mistakes of others.  As mentioned above, to do this you need to enhance your observational skills.  Otherwise, you’ll miss the lesson in these events.

Some people think experience alone is a person wise.  But, this true only if you learn from the lessons from the experience.  Experience is often the hardest way.  But, sometimes it’s the only way you get the message of the important life lesson.  Some people keep repeating the same bad experiences.

It’s practical to find what it means to you.  Do do this we recommend a simple exercise known as automatic writing.  Here’s a link to describe the process.  To do this, set the intention with the question, what is wisdom.  Then find out what your intuition tells you.  It will surprise you.  You’ll find out how much you may have or where your gaps are.

Here’s another opinion on how to gain wisdom.

“By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.”
— Confucius


On the other hand, working on yourself is probably the best way.  It doesn’t mean you won’t make mistakes.  However, it will make sure you capitalize on the lesson.  The best approach to self-development is diverse.  It should include a range of activities to improve your mind, body, and spirit.

First, read books and articles on a variety of subjects.  Enhance your critical thinking skills. Reason and common sense are skills that you can improve.  So, study logic.

Second, look for resources that challenge your worldview.  Above all, develop your own spiritual path.   Practice those things which expand your awareness especially forms of seated and moving meditation.

Third, as we mentioned above, enhance the core skills of the mind. Develop your observational skills and memory.  Learn healthy coping skills to handle the stress of daily living.

Fourth, practice being a good person.  Crazy as it sounds, this will help put you back in touch with your default state of innocence. This is our natural state before exposure to any cultural programming.  Be brave.  Fight for the rights of everyone.  Fight to save our environment.  After all, it’s the only place in the Universe with chocolate.  Live with courage but with risk management restraint.  Life is a long-distance event.

Fifth, practice self-care.  Remember, life is a long-distance lesson.  Learn why durability is the best overall health goal.

Sixth, practice activities that allow you to hear the voice of your intuition.

In Conclusion

So, what is wisdom and how do you become wise? To recap. Wisdom is more than likely a combination of things such as observational skills, reason, and common sense and intuition.  It is possible to learn and gain wisdom by cultivating both analytical and intuitive skills.  Therefore, you can learn to do it too.

“Knowing others is intelligence;
knowing yourself is true wisdom.
Mastering others is strength;
mastering yourself is true power.”
― Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

Does this sound like you?  If not, don’t worry.  You can get there.  Put it on your “to-do” list. Learn how to build positive behaviors.  How do you become wise?  By discovering your limitations and working to fill the gaps in your analytical and intuitive abilities.   You gain more wisdom by constantly learning and refining working on yourself.  Develop sound observation skills, common sense and logic.

One need not stick their hand in the fire to know that fire burns.  However, if you have scars from being burned, you can certainly speak from practical experience.  Learn about fire and its effects before you use it so you can apply this knowledge. Be smart and be wise.

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Interested in spiritual exploration?  Check out the blended learning process at the core of our teaching process. It reflects what Joseph Campbell called the Hero’s Journey.  Our learning options include both face-to-face and virtual learning sessions.  Please consider donating and supporting our mission. This helps others learn the knowledge for developing their own path.


Joseph Campbell & Joseph Campbell’s Book The Hero’s Journey, Wikipedia

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