All About Wisdom

It can be difficult to define Wisdom, but people generally recognize it when they encounter it. Psychologists pretty much agree it involves an integration of knowledge, experience, and deep understanding that incorporates tolerance for the uncertainties of life as well as its ups and downs. There's an awareness of how things play out over time, and it confers a sense of balance.

Wise people generally share an optimism that life's problems can be solved and experience a certain amount of calm in facing difficult decisions. Intelligence—if only anyone could figure out exactly what it is—may be necessary for wisdom, but it definitely isn't sufficient; an ability to see the big picture, a sense of proportion, and considerable introspection also contribute to its development.

Recent Posts on Wisdom

Letter from a Nurse Who Accidentally Killed A Patient

By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on November 29, 2015 How To Do Life
My advice on how to cope with having made a big mistake.

Darth Vader: The Value of Redemptive Sacrifice

The Star Wars character of Darth Vader is a mythic “traveler,” as we each make choices we regret and must bear the consequences. The tragedy of noble cause corruption through the story of Luke Skywalker’s father is a cautionary tale and his redemption can be an inspiration for all of us to rise above our challenges.

A Letter From a Scared High School Senior

By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on November 25, 2015 How To Do Life
Her questions and my answers about college, career, and life.

In Praise of Seriousness

By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on November 24, 2015 How To Do Life
Upbeat is overrated.

Birth Order Determines...Almost Nothing

By Jeanne Safer Ph.D. on November 23, 2015 The Last Taboos
Everybody tends to think children have particular personality characteristics determined by their position in the family: firstborns are achievers, middle children are peacemakers, and the babies in the family are individualists. A new study shows how it isn't so.

Addressing Information Overload

By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on November 22, 2015 How To Do Life
Practically and Psychologically Dealing With the Information Explosion

Do Crocodiles Really Cry?

What's up with crocodile tears? Do crocodiles really cry? Scientists find out.

Who Would Jesus Stone?

By Rebecca Coffey on November 20, 2015 The Bejeezus Out of Me
Classic nonviolence is far from passive. It is smartly aggressive. To get under their oppressors’ skin, civil rights and social reform leaders have had to be psychologically astute. (“What will get their goats them this time?”). And, apparently, thinking that way works. A growing body of research suggests that nonviolence is more effective than violence.

Is There Pure Good?

By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on November 20, 2015 How To Do Life
I thought I had identified 10, but on reflection, I had to settle for 4.

Thanksgiving Special: Why Give Thanks?

By Neel Burton M.D. on November 18, 2015 Hide and Seek
Whenever we give thanks, we receive much more than we give.

Is Your Therapist Psychologically-Minded?

A therapist who isn't psychologically-minded will feel superior to you.

The Case for Staycations

By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on November 17, 2015 How To Do Life
Why vacations are overrated.

How to Negotiate Like a Lawyer

By Ruth Lee Johnson J.D. on November 16, 2015 So Sue Me
Everyone has to negotiate sometimes, but lawyers negotiate for a living. Learn five important strategies that law schools teach lawyers, and unleash your inner attorney.

Do You Feel Misunderstood?

By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on November 16, 2015 How To Do Life
Ways to address misconceptions about you.

The Hundred Kinds of Silence

By Sam Osherson Ph.D. on November 11, 2015 Listen Up!
Do you wonder how to deepen your conversations? How to connect more fully with yourself? A few well-placed silences can make all the difference.

Have to? Should? Could? Will?

Caught up in the "too much" world, we may find ourselves living unconsciously, doing, doing doing. But take a moment and imagine what you might do in any moment. Sit with possibilities. And then, feeling into your own knowing, make a choice.

50 Isn't the New 30 (and Why That’s a Good Thing)

By Deborah Carr Ph.D. on November 08, 2015 Bouncing Back
What Gen Xers need to know, as the big 5-0 looms.

Brahe's Blunder, or We Aren't as Important as We'd Like

By David P. Barash Ph.D. on November 06, 2015 Pura Vida
One of the most shocking but important realizations is that we aren't central to the world, neither as individuals nor as a species. But people have had a hard time acknowledging this.

Life Lessons from Jerry Twomey and His Old Rose

By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on November 06, 2015 How To Do Life
A true story with implications for us all.

How to Maintain Calm in the Midst of Chaos

By Diana Raab Ph.D. on November 05, 2015 The Empowerment Diary
November is the beginning of the holiday season and often a stressful time for many people. It's a good time to develop strategies to manage the chaos and stress inherent to this time of year. Some ways to cope include meditation, setting intentions, being in nature or journaling. This entry includes some suggestions, including writing prompts.

Being Here Now: The Art of Precious Present-Centeredness

By Dan Mager MSW on November 05, 2015 Some Assembly Required
When we aren’t paying conscious attention to the present moment, we are effectively sleepwalking, even when we are wide-awake. When we’re focused on the past or the future, we are cut off from the possibilities inherent in this moment—unable to see it and experience it for what it is; separated from the opportunities it presents.

The Search For Meaning

The vast majority of humans need some meaning to our lives beyond acquiring, consuming and devouring. The search for meaning might be a belief in a benevolent, omniscient God, but spiritual states and beliefs exist for non-believers as well. That Search for a Sense of Believing (along with Being, Belonging and Benevolence) enables us to fulfill and evaluate our lives.

In Praise of Those Who Put in an Honest Day's Work

By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on November 03, 2015 How To Do Life
A letter I wrote to a magician.

Getting In the Way of Our Own Old-Age Well-being

How do loss aversion and the above-average effect influence people's decisions about where to spend their later years?

Change Values, Decrease Stress

By Carrie Barron M.D. on November 02, 2015 The Creativity Cure
If we reduce stress, we reduce psychological and physical illness. It is both intuitive and now scientifically shown. A change in cultural values can start with leaders creating healthy work cultures or with grassroots initiatives. Either way, awareness begets change.

An Open Letter From a 65-Year-Old

By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on October 31, 2015 How To Do Life
Lessons I've Learned

"Inside Out" and the Legacy of a Legend

By Susan Rako M.D. on October 24, 2015 More Light
What can the Disney Pixar film "Inside Out" have to do with the legacy of a mentor? How can sadness be "the vitamin of growth?"

The Boomers, the "Old-Old," and In-Between: Four New Takes

A sabbatical equals time to read - so I've been making up for lost time binge-reading all those books on aging I should have been reading. If you are behind like me, here are four suggestions that show the range of writing on successful aging (and how to get there).

The Relationship Report Card

By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on October 24, 2015 How To Do Life
Grade your current or future potential long-term partner on this report card.

A Message from the Muse

By Susan Rako M.D. on October 23, 2015 More Light
Unconscious processes work in mysterious ways. Do you know what it takes to realize your full creative and productive potential?