The Four Components of Wisdom

I think most of us would like to be wise, or at least hope to become wise one day.  But I wonder how many of us could articulate what wisdom really looks like.  I suspect most of us know wisdom when we see it, but how many of us would be able to articulate the skills or abilities make up wisdom?

Wisdom: 4 Keys to Getting Unstuck

Today on More2Life Radio, we discussed “getting unstuck.”  When we encounter situations that leave us not knowing what to do and we feel trapped or stuck, it is wisdom that helps us find the way out.  In preparing for the show, I came across a study that identified 4 skills that the researchers considered indicative of “wise reasoning.”  I thought they represented as good an operational definition of wisdom as I’ve ever encountered.  The more you cultivate the following abilities in your life and relationships, the more likely it is you will be able to find creative solutions to even the thorniest problems.  Take a look!

1.  The Ability to Recognize the Limits of our own Knowledge.

If we are willing to genuinely acknowledge what we don’t know, then we know when its time to seek new skills, resources, or counsel.

2. The Ability to Seek Compromise

Compromise has a bad reputation.  Most people tend to think of it as settling on the solution that is equally dissatisfying to everyone.  That’s a bad compromise.  A good compromise assesses what everyone’s needs are and then tries to brainstorm solutions that take those needs into account.  That takes some creativity and patience, but the wise reasoner recognizes that anything less just won’t hold over time.  Unless everyone is satisfied with a solution, it is no solution at all.

3.  The Ability to Consider the Perspective of Others

When we become stressed, we get tunnel-vision.  Wise reasoners  intentionally force themselves to consider the perspectives of others by asking questions like, “What would this person think?”  and “How would I advise someone else who was dealing with this problem?”

4.  The Ability to Recognize All the Possible Ways a Scenario Could Unfold

Too often, we become married to our ideal solution and we think that every other possible outcome can’t help but disappoint.   The wise reasoner is willing to both look at all the possible ways a situation could play out and ask themselves how they might make the best out of each of those possible outcomes.  This ability to see how multiple outcomes could be worked to one’s advantage helps generate a sense that “all shall be well” and makes it safe to consider solutions that might, at first, seem less than ideal.

Let Wisdom Watch Over You

Proverbs 4:6 says, “Do not forsake wisdom and she will protect you.  Love her, and she will watch over you.”  While there are many factors that can contribute to the achievement of wisdom, consciously cultivating these 4 abilities can set you on the path to becoming the sort of wise-reasoner who is able to find ways to get unstuck from even the stickiest situations.