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

How to Get on the Path to Self Actualization

By Darcia Narvaez Ph.D. on February 18, 2018 in Moral Landscapes
Maslow had advice for those who wanted to become self-actualizers. In his book The Farther Reaches of Human Nature, he gave eight suggestions.

Five Preachy Pleas

By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on February 17, 2018 in How To Do Life
Exhortations from my new book, Careers for Dummies.

Standing at the Edge: The New Book by Roshi Joan Halifax

By Mark Matousek on February 15, 2018 in Ethical Wisdom
In her new book, Standing At the Edge: Finding Freedom Where Fear and Courage Meet, medical anthropologist and Zen master Joan Halifax investigates "moral distress" and burnout.

Living an Examined Life

By The Book Brigade on February 15, 2018 in The Author Speaks
In the second half of life, you alone are responsible for yourself. Here’s some wisdom for becoming the grown up you want to be.

Four Guidelines to Making Critical Decisions

By Tim Elmore on February 15, 2018 in Artificial Maturity
Are you constantly faced with making critical decisions? These four guidelines can help you effectively make them.

Beating the Odds

What if you come from a crazy family?

The Power of Naming

By Susan Rako M.D. on February 13, 2018 in More Light
"Ethnic Cleansing," "Chain Immigration": are we numb to what these sneaky phrases really mean?

Is Romantic Love Just an Invention by Commerce?

Are you becoming cynical about love? Finding light in the darkness.

The Power of Social Habitats

By Darcia Narvaez Ph.D. on February 12, 2018 in Moral Landscapes
Aristotle was right—our social habitats shape who we are.

Self-Actualization: Are You on the Path?

By Darcia Narvaez Ph.D. on February 11, 2018 in Moral Landscapes
What are the characteristics of a self-actualizing person? How do they match up with those from our evolutionary context?

The Wisdom of Crowds

What can we really glean from social media? A new study suggests our comments on Twitter can go a long way.

Indigenous Healing Psychology

Richard Katz narrates the evolution of his wisdom through encounters with some of the giants of psychology at Harvard as well as honored Indigenous healers in other cultures.

In the Dog Park - Pets and People

By Graham Collier on February 06, 2018 in The Consciousness Question
Given the incredible range of dog personalities and behaviors, individual owners also cannot help but interest one as personalities.

Eric Clapton on Healing From Trauma

"It ain't about what I want, it's about what I can give."

The Meteoric Rise of Professor Jordan Peterson

By Izzy Kalman on February 04, 2018 in Resilience to Bullying
Professor Jordan Peterson has experienced a meteoric rise to fame, because he is precisely what the world needs now: truth and responsibility.
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On Religious Certainty, Violence and War

How is it that the people who hold the highest ideals of love and brotherhood fall prey to divisiveness and hatred? What is it about religion that pairs it so closely to violence?
Alex Pattakos

Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Meaning

By Alex Pattakos Ph.D. on February 03, 2018 in The Meaningful Life
Are you living a happy life or a meaningful life?

Name of the Game

By Joachim I Krueger Ph.D. on February 02, 2018 in One Among Many
Defect or cooperate? Morality says cooperate. Rationality says it depends - in part on what game is being played.

Constructing Modern Selves 2: The Electronic Self

We moderns support the idea that cultural selves – typically jolly, attractive, and ready to please – are more appealing than the ordinary people we are confronting now.


In the Buddhist tradition, Sangha means association, assembly, company, or community.
photo courtesy of Pixabay

How To Put Down Our Devices and Step Into Our Lives

Are you more addicted to your devices than you care to admit? A little mindfulness can go a long way.

Be Kind to Yourself

By Marianna Pogosyan Ph.D. on February 02, 2018 in Between Cultures
There are many paths toward well-being through kindness and self-compassion. Yet the success of these strategies depends on one key caveat: It’s not what you do, but why you do it.

In Pursuit FROM Excellence

By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on February 02, 2018 in How To Do Life
How society is now devaluing excellence.

Living Through Fear and Anxiety

By Barton Goldsmith Ph.D. on February 01, 2018 in Emotional Fitness
These teachings are not meant to train us to change after hearing the words but are rather a guide to what would be ideal.

Why You Should Be a Liberal, Why a Conservative

By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on January 30, 2018 in How To Do Life
Toward depolarizing America.
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An Instruction Manual for Happiness

The world around us will actually pull us away from tapping into our happiness.

Real Acting

By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on January 27, 2018 in How To Do Life
A psychologically oriented person's guide to acting in the real world.

The Case for Preschoolers Having MORE Screen Time

By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on January 26, 2018 in How To Do Life
Why spending twice or even three times as much as recommended may be wise.

When the News Makes Us Miserable

By Tara Brach Ph.D. on January 25, 2018 in Finding True Refuge
People all over the globe share the same longing for a more loving, just, and peaceful world. People everywhere are opening to the sense of our true belonging with all of life...