All About Wisdom

It can be difficult to define wisdom, but people generally recognize it when they encounter it. Psychologists tend to agree that 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

A Different Approach to Political Divisiveness

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on July 27, 2016 in Ambigamy
Confusing ourselves to diffuse our political tensions.

Bad Listening Skills II: Responding to Grief and Loss

By Hank Davis on July 27, 2016 in Caveman Logic
What is it about death and loss that triggers the worst listening skills in most of us? No matter how deep your convictions are, you can't preach and listen at the same time.

Plato on Democracy, Tyranny, and the Ideal State

By Neel Burton M.D. on July 26, 2016 in Hide and Seek
What would Plato have to say about today’s democracies?

5 Effective Ways to Respond to Backhanded Compliments

Do you find yourself at a loss for words when someone offers a backhanded compliment? Try these responses.

7 Tricks for Turning Mega-Threats into Micro-Triumphs

How do you convert big fat ominous threats into bite-sized micro-triumphs? Here are a few suggestions, based on some of the best applications of psychological research.

The Power of Calm

By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on July 25, 2016 in How To Do Life
Equanimity is an underdiscussed key to success.

How Will Our Story Be Told?

Our lives are a matter of show and (others) tell.

Changing the Human Psyche for Living Sustainably

By Darcia Narvaez Ph.D. on July 24, 2016 in Moral Landscapes
Human psychology has moved away from beliefs that promote sustainable living. Thomas Berry identified misunderstandings that have led to the ecological crisis we face.

The Balancing Act of Living with Chronic Pain

By Dan Mager MSW on July 21, 2016 in Some Assembly Required
If you have chronic pain, you can learn how to go beyond the boundaries of your comfort zone, and through practice find the sweet spot between not doing enough and doing too much.

8 Hard, Big Questions and My Insufficient Answers

By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on July 21, 2016 in How To Do Life
Thinking about these questions can lift us above our quotidian concerns.

Why No One Should Ever Use the Word 'Cult'

By Guy P. Harrison on July 18, 2016 in About Thinking
If "cult" is a sleazy, illogical slur word, why does everyone use it?

Acceptance and Transformation

Should left-handers demand that half the baseball diamond be reversed?

Dr. G's 10 Rules to Love By

All couples go through all kinds of ups and downs. As long as we are learning, then we have the ability to keep our relationships moving forward.

Wise Up: Study Aging

By Christina Pierpaoli on July 13, 2016 in Eng(aging)
In the 20th century, adult life expectancy has nearly doubled. Here’s why aging is a boon for psychology—and perhaps—for you.

Say These 3 Words to Overcome Your Anxiety

These THREE words will turn the tables on your anxiety by helping you use it to accomplish great things!

The Nice Guy

By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on July 12, 2016 in How To Do Life
Is being kind worth it?

Selecting a President

By Adrian Furnham Ph.D. on July 12, 2016 in A Sideways View
How would you do a job analysis of the office of the President? What traits are basic requirements? What should you look for regarding dark-side traits that you don't want?

The American Race Problem

By Guy P. Harrison on July 12, 2016 in About Thinking
America is again focusing on its race problem and, once again, ignoring the past

Spotting the Gaps

It is important to notice what doesn't happen: events that were expected but didn't occur. Why are some people better at this than others? What does it take to spot the omissions?

As We Wonder: A Heroine's Wisdom for Violent Times

A superheroine gives wisdom: "Don't kill if you can wound, don't wound if you can subdue, don't subdue if you can pacify, and don't raise your hand until you've first extended it."

Can Animals Be Holy?

A new book makes us question the sacred, the human and the future of our world.

The Six Steps to Sacred Citizenship

By Ken Page L.C.S.W. on July 05, 2016 in Finding Love
According to Stephen Dinan, author of the Sacred America, there are six steps each of us can take that create world-change and personal joy. Here are those six steps:

Stoicism: Being Indifferent to Pain or Pleasure

By Adrian Furnham Ph.D. on July 01, 2016 in A Sideways View
Many of the world religions suggest that being stoical is wise and virtuous. But many therapists suggest that rather than repress our emotions we should learn to embrace them.

Thoughts on Turning 66

By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on July 01, 2016 in How To Do Life
Musings of possible relevance to Psychology Today readers.
Marijus/AdobeStock

Difficulty Making Decisions?

Decision-making is hard for many of us. There are 3 good reasons, and a 4th not-so-good one, why decisions can be hard. Here’s how to handle those and get better at making choices.

Now That the Brits Have Left the European Union

By Susan Rako M.D. on June 24, 2016 in More Light
Where will their dissatisfaction and anger go?

Elder Wisdom

We can ensure our own healing from trauma and stress

Scientific Innovation Needs the European Union to Succeed

Scientific innovation doesn’t just happen on its own. It takes stable economies, free societies, and open-minded governments. The European Union is good for that.

The Risks of a Diminished Consciousness

The way things are going, we may, at some point, have to call ourselves something other than the ‘Human Race.’
Armistead Booker/Flickr

How to Avoid Being a Grumpy Old Man (or Woman)

How can we avoid falling into a negativity trap as older adults? It's easier than you think.