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

Throwing Bullets on the Fire

By John Sean Doyle on May 28, 2015 in Luminous Things
We look at the mindless and senseless things people do and it is easy to blame. How can they be so stupid? Didn’t they think for a moment? But as long as there is no ricochet or crash, we are allowed to forget that we too are irresponsible and thoughtless. Every one of us is negligent. But to be negligent and unlucky? That is a crime no one can ever shake off.

How Evolutionary Psychology Illuminates Everyday Life

Evolutionary psychology has become famous as a powerful framework for understanding even the most mundane aspects of life. Read further to see how the evolutionary perspective provides insights into 10 common cliches.

Lessons on Safari: Putting Humans in Their Place

An African photo safari provides the pathway to internalize the power of animal life in our world.

On the Battlefield of the Psyche

By Pythia Peay on May 25, 2015 in America On The Couch
Decker said, "I once had an interview with the Tibetan Buddhist leader, the Dalai Lama. When I asked him for his advice on how to work with veterans he said . .first, they had to have some kind of spirituality. And secondly, they had to know that it was their job—their duty—to kill people.He also made a distinction between having to kill during war, and committing murder."

Confessions of a Know-it-All

The feeling of knowing is an essential brain sensation, without which we would not likely strive to learn. And yet, the feeling of being right is not necessarily connected to actually being correct.

The Power of Wisdom to Enact Social Change

Many believe that the rise of technology and the logical problem solving mindset can solve the world’s problems. But after years of creating technologies to help improve poverty, health, and education, Kentaro Toyama started to reach a different conclusion: Social change comes from the heart, mind, and will of people. Technologies are only as good as the wisdom of people.

Goddesses: What Are Their Origins and Roles?

A recent birthday celebration reminded me of the importances of goddesses in our lives. We are different goddesses depending upon where we are in the life cycle. Athena, for example, puts career first, Hera puts marriage first, Artemis is the goddess of the hunt and saves other women and Aphrodite is the sensual lover. The wise woman arrives later in life.

A Grab Bag of Wisdom to Help You Enter Flow

You know those times when you aren't in the mood to write, but you want to get in the mood? Read some of these honest and insightful quotes from good writers to help ease your own transition into the headiness of a creative flow state.

Waking Up To the Dark: Ancient Wisdom for a Sleepless Age

By Mark Matousek on May 11, 2015 in Ethical Wisdom
Clark Strand's brilliant new book, Waking Up To the Dark: Ancient Wisdom for a Sleepless Age is a life-changer. Most of us have little to no idea what a transformative -- sometimes damaging -- effect the incandescent life bulb has had on human life. We've lost the healing, and spiritual, power of darkness -- to say nothing of our natural sleep patterns.

Boost Your Insights, Part I

This first of a 2-part discussion of ways to increase insights reviews of 5 popular ideas: increase swirl, encourage failures, be open to new ideas, apply critical thinking, and get into a quiet, meditative mood. Each suggestion has some unfortunate drawbacks. Assessing their strengths and limits may provide suggestions for a better strategy, to be described in Part II.

Carpe Diem! 30 Reasons to Seize the Day and How to Do It

These 30 motivational phrases will inspire you to seize the day.

Why Silence Kills Working Relationships

By Gregory Ciotti on May 10, 2015 in Habits, Not Hacks
Silence is a noxious gas.

Why Complaining Is More Destructive Than Productive

By Gregg McBride on May 09, 2015 in The Weight-ing Game
Have you ever had a challenging life situation rear its ugly head in the midst of an otherwise good day or week? If so, did you give into the grief and the agony and jump on board the pity train? Or did you shake it off and move forward with a positive spirit—determined not to let one of life's everyday annoyances get in your way?

Where Are You From? It's a Complicated Question

The question is ambiguous. Depending upon what the questioner wants to know, it can mean a number of different things, but where you are right now can only be understood in relation to where you came from and where you are going.

Connect, Act, Evolve

What is today's non-religious approach to community?

Mama Bliss

Mama Bliss, a stellar Portuguese water dog, provides mothering in the most surprising way.

When Is It Wise to Confess?

By Sheila Kohler on May 03, 2015 in Dreaming for Freud
I remember telling my poor children their father was in Bruxelles when my ex- husband was off with his mistress. My intentions were of the best, of course. I hoped to spare my little girls the suffering of knowing of their father's infidelity, which he finally confessed to them much to my ire. But I'm not sure my silence was ultimately helpful to my children.

A Spiritual Life with a Psychology to Match

Spiritual people, spiritual psychology: hope for the future.

Nuclear Weapons R'Us - Not!

It takes wisdom, compassion and courage to lay down weapons and offer friendship to those we have formerly mistaken as enemies.

How Is Education Becoming Irrelevant - Education vs Learning

By Po Chi Wu Ph.D. on May 01, 2015 in Jacob's Staff
What's wrong with the way we think about education? How are corporations dealing with Millennials? Do you feel that the significance of what you know is decreasing at an exponential rate? How can we cope? How is the Knowledge Economy fundamentally different from the Industrial Economy? What are the implications of a Sharing Economy?

Wisdom From a Psychopath?

Research by Dr. Kevin Dutton shows that psychopathic traits may be appealing to individuals, but are harmful for communities.

The Greatest Mind in Psychology That You Don't Know

By Todd B Kashdan Ph.D. on April 30, 2015 in Curious?
We lost a great one last month. Learn and read about his work.

Adventures in Allergy

When patients say they are "allergic" to something, they do not necessarily mean the same thing that doctors have in mind when they use the word. And vice versa.

The Contradictions of Cliches

By Steven Mintz Ph.D. on April 28, 2015 in The Prime of Life
What common clichés reveal about the popular psychology of our time.

Pardon Me—Or Else!

By Rebecca Coffey on April 27, 2015 in The Bejeezus Out of Me
Haters gonna hate. Forgivers gonna live longer.

The Wisdom of Our Elders

Good news: we can employ ordinary measures for mood improvement and to fight against anxiety, depression, and stress. My conclusion from working with nursing home residents is that feeling better does not usually require a miracle, just careful management of the mundane elements of our lives.

What Is Confirmation Bias?

People are prone to believe what they want to believe.

Revisiting “Be Here Now”

Being here now is a term that is often misunderstood. Rather that use spiritual practice to avoid feelings, what would it mean to embrace our feelings?

Wishful Thinking

By Eyal Winter on April 22, 2015 in Feeling Smart
How we can ignore facts we don't like.