If given the choice would you rather be the smartest person in the world, or the wisest? The smart person would say “I’d rather be the smartest”. But the wiser person would answer, “I would rather be both”.
What is wisdom? Or what does “being wise” mean to you? When I consider this topic I am reminded of a saying I once heard:
“Wisdom can begin when you accept that you don’t know anything.”
Being “wise” is a priceless skill that is acquired from experience only, and cannot be taught or learned from a book. Some of the most brilliant people who have ever lived or the brightest protégés in history–still lacked wisdom.
It’s kind of an oxymoron: it almost takes someone denying they have wisdom, for them to have it. Does that make sense? Well, if we are following what the quote was telling us, it does. Because “wisdom starts when you accept you don’t know anything”.
But what is this quote really telling us? I don’t think it’s telling us that we really don’t know anything or that we are intellectually inferior or any of those things. I think it’s reminding us that in life, there will be times where we can’t know the answers. Where everything happening around us will make no sense whatsoever and no matter what we learned or how smart we may be, we won’t be able to use any of it to find an answer. It kind of sounds morbid, right? Almost, hopeless. How can we respond if we don’t understand? These moments are where you find what you are:
Wisdom isn’t the lack of understanding, it’s knowing what to do when you don’t understand.
Wisdom > Knowledge
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