Wisdom Vs. Knowledge
Being wise doesn’t mean knowing everything. In fact it is quite the opposite. Often in “knowing” everything or assuming you know everything can give you a false sense of security, confidence and self reliance.
Being a “know-it- all” and “smart” can lead to dumb decisions or decisions that have a superficial outcome. Sometimes we intentionally or unintentionally even, make decisions that align with our knowledge which in turn re-affirms our capabilities without looking at the entire decision at hand or the resulting consequences.
Know-it- alls always have an answer and have a tendency to need to prove this in all situations especially around others. By being the “smartest” they feel a sense of power or control. Typically this desire for power or control stems from personal insecurities or an internal struggle with worth.
I’m not trying to say that not obtaining knowledge isn’t wise or helpful, but knowledge alone will not always produce the greatest outcomes.
People who demonstrate wisdom can quickly recognize their own lack of knowledge or inadequacies. Instead of needing to prove to others or themselves that they are “smart” or know the most they are willing to seek the council of others. The resulting consequences are almost always better than if they had made a decision or carried out an action under the assumption of knowing everything.
3 Strategies to become more wise and not settle for being a know- it- all are as follows:
1. Never be afraid to ask questions. In questioning, new perspectives are revealed. When the right questions are asked the right actions can be taken leading to the best possible outcomes.
The inability to ask questions can be a serious roadblock for growth. Wise men, women, and leaders know how to ask great questions.
Questioning is the opposite approach to assuming. In summary, ask more and assume less.
2. Use time to your advantage. Sometimes we rush into action or make decisions based on feelings, emotion, or knowledge at first glance. We can often be impatient and want to experience a result right away; however in rushing the decision the outcome can be significantly less that initially expected or hoped for. It’s okay to be excited about things and to leverage this excitement into action, but make sure the actions are getting the results you want. Don’t be stubborn and not reflect on actions and keep going if the results aren’t achieved. Take your time, make the necessary tweaks and changes. Rushing and not reflecting can cause significant setbacks. Use time to your advantage; before you shoot, aim; and after you have shot make sure you hit your target…don’t just keep shooting. Re align yourself and take another shot.
3. Practice humility. Our know it all mentality is usually the result of pride. Clearly understanding the outcome that you are looking for and then humbling yourself enough to get help/advice from the right source can help you fast track the process of personal trial and error. I find this personally challenging. As a man I like to think I always have the answers, being married to a wise woman I understand that sometimes making a bunch of attempts and failing is far more difficult that asking in the first place.
This personally is a work in progress, but something I’m committed to improving upon. Wisdom often exists in knowing you don’t know it all. In working on this idea of wisdom I have found that re-reading the Biblical Proverbs over and over again have helped considerably. People get older, but not necessarily wiser. I’m committed to seeking wisdom with each experience as I have learned that having an experience or failing at something with out getting the learning and the wisdom doesn’t help you become any better off and that your are pretty much doomed to repeat yourself. Growing older will happen getting wiser needs to be intentional.
Questions to Reflect on:
When did I last make a decision out of Pride that went completely wrong? Could I have been thoughtful, more diligent, and asked others for help? Would that have made a difference?
What do you do think the difference between Wisdom and Knowledge is?
How are you intentionally working towards become wiser?