All About Wisdom

Wisdom is one of those qualities difficult to define—because it encompasses so much—but which people generally recognize when they encounter it. And it is encountered most obviously in the realm of decision-making. Psychologists tend to agree that wisdom 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. It can be acquired only through experience, but by itself, experience does not automatically confer wisdom. Only now are researchers beginning to look into the social, emotional, and cognitive processes that transmute experience into wisdom.

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

Love It Forward: The Radical Wisdom of Jeff Brown

By Mark Matousek on March 28, 2017 in Ethical Wisdom
Jeff Brown delivers uncommon wisdom—uncommonly well—to his large online community.

52 Ways to Show I Love You: Showing Up

Showing up for performances, events, agreed-upon dates, and in times of need shows love. Your presence can underscore reliability, willingness to receive, and a desire to give.

Why Simple Advice is Often the Best Advice

By Gregg McBride on March 25, 2017 in The Weight-ing Game
No matter how many times we replay past events or decisions in our heads, they are never going to be undone. So the sooner we swallow hard and move on, the better.

Is a Bird in the Hand Worth Two in the Bush?

By Neel Burton M.D. on March 24, 2017 in Hide and Seek
A bird in the hand is worth more than two in the bush, if you don't kill it.

Am I Normal?

Do we ask too much of our lives? The power of defining emotional wellness with wisdom.

The Secret to Happiness

It is easier for us to create a list of what we want the world to give us than it is to think in terms of what we can give back to the world.

Interpersonal Attraction

By Adrian Furnham Ph.D. on March 24, 2017 in A Sideways View
What has evolutionary science to say about physical attractiveness?

Growing Old in Ancient Cultures

What can Ancient Egypt, India and China teach us about aging well?

The 3 C’s of Engaging Political Discourse and Behavior

Without a commitment to civility, compassion, and the common good it is hard to image a hopeful future for any of us.

Relationships Are Like Surfing

“You can’t stop the waves from coming, but you can learn to surf.” -Swami Satchidinanda

What Are You Resisting?

By Rick Hanson Ph.D. on March 21, 2017 in Your Wise Brain
It is easy to accept life’s beautiful things. It is the hard things in life that are hard to accept. The sweet spot is both by accepting the fact that they are what they are.

A Single Act of Amnesty: the Heart of Com-passion

By Gregg Levoy on March 20, 2017 in Passion!
Passion comes from a word meaning "to suffer," and compassion means shared suffering. As with last month’s post, this month's features a second story about the power of com-passion

Want Insights on Executive Psychology? Ask a Wise Old Jew

By Steven Berglas Ph.D. on March 20, 2017 in Executive Ego
Leaders of all kinds would do well to heed what many grandfathers could tell them.
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Safe Spaces Can Be Dangerous

By Liz Swan Ph.D. on March 20, 2017 in College Confidential
What's so safe about "safe" spaces? They prevent students from growing and adapting which is, in fact, really scary.

Creativity Rules: In Honor of Jimmy Breslin

Like Joseph Heller’s Catch 22, Jimmy Breslin’s work became so influential that it morphed into a colloquialism and changed the world of writing and art.

How to Help Your Kid Pick a College

By Jake Breeden on March 19, 2017 in Tipping Sacred Cows
'Tis the season for high school seniors to pick a college. If your child is making this choice, discover five ways to help.

Small Changes Can Have Big Effects: The I-M Approach

By Joseph A. Shrand M.D. on March 18, 2017 in The I-M Approach
Have you ever promised yourself to do something only to fail miserably? Perhaps you are trying to do too much. The I-M Approach reminds us that small changes can have big effects.
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Why Do We Die?

By Thomas Hills Ph.D. on March 18, 2017 in Statistical Life
Our survivability is the bargaining chip that life pays to keep us immortal.
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Growing Old

By Paul Ekman Ph.D. on March 15, 2017 in Face It!
Genetics, sensible living, and luck have helped an accomplished scientist accomplish much of what he wanted in 83 years.

The Control Freak

By Adrian Furnham Ph.D. on March 15, 2017 in A Sideways View
Why do some people need to exercise constant and control of their own lives and others around them? Are they really freaks or is this need both relatively common and even adaptive?

Silencing Is Golden: The Chilling Dogma of AntiNormalization

Many college students are unable to debate bad ideas because they aren't learning the difference between a firmly held opinion and a self-evident truth.

The Serenity Prayer and 16 Variations

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on March 14, 2017 in Ambigamy
The Serenity Prayer is extraordinary moral guidance, not some unworkable "always do X" rule, but a way to frame up a fundamental judgment call we all have to make over and over.

The Challenges of Clinical Practice in Turbulent Times

Can mindfulness help us stay sane in turbulent times? Even some humorous metaphors can guide us

What's the Difference Between Friendship and Love?

By Neel Burton M.D. on March 12, 2017 in Hide and Seek
The line between friendship and love is difficult to draw.

Are Plants Aware?

By Robert Lanza M.D. on March 11, 2017 in Biocentrism
We usually only call something sentient if it responds to us. But despite our human preconceptions, plants may experience consciousness albeit in a different fashion from us.

Should you trust your gut?

By Marcia Reynolds Psy.D. on March 11, 2017 in Wander Woman
Steps and techniques for listening to both your gut and head to calculate your next best move.

The Power of Stories to Heal or Harm

Stories can help us heal from painful life events. They can also divide us from one another and lead to terrible violence.

Leadership Wisdom for Today

Vital leadership lessons from nature to meet the challenges of today.

4 Steps to Making Better Decisions

Our inner wisdom is an invaluable tool in making decisions.

When Silence Is Deafening

By Kaja Perina on March 07, 2017 in Brainstorm
A tiny act or calculation, including the decision to keep a secret, can eventually and invisibly sculpt a person’s relationships, even his or her identity.