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 Be Happy

By Darcia Narvaez Ph.D. on September 23, 2017 in Moral Landscapes
What is a happy self? In ancient times, happiness meant fulfilling your nature—both your human nature and your uniqueness as a member of the community. Times have changed.
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The Art of Bliss

By Diana Raab PhD on September 20, 2017 in The Empowerment Diary
Have you ever thought that activities, such as writing, can lead to bliss?
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Mundus Novus (The New World)

By Chris Kutarna Ph.D. on September 18, 2017 in Age of Discovery
Overwhelmed by the pace of change? Some conscious map-making helps us navigate a new world.

How to Say No Assertively to a Request for Your Time

By Deborah Grayson Riegel MSW on September 14, 2017 in Speak Easy
Do you say yes when you want to say no? Here are 20 ways to say no gracefully, and with less guilt.

Lessons From Hurricane Irma

By Deborah J. Cohan, Ph.D. on September 12, 2017 in Social Lights
A list and a meditation.

Breaking Down Relationship Roadblocks to Live a Happier Life

Learning to thrive in a relationship can be challenging, but we must go back to the basics of human compassion and selflessness.

The War on Experts

By Gary Klein Ph.D. on September 06, 2017 in Seeing What Others Don't
Countering the exaggerated claims of researchers in the fields of Decision Making, Heuristics and Biases, Evidence-Based Performance, Sociology, and Information Technology.

Be the Mountain: A Guided Meditation [Video + Script]

By Aqualus M Gordon Ph.D. on September 05, 2017 in My Brother's Keeper
A guided meditation for those seeking peace and stability
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The Therapist As Saint or Sinner

Therapists must learn how to handle the projections of their clients -- negative and positive -- with sensitivity and curiosity if they are to learn what is behind them.
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Hanging Together

By Erik M. Gregory Ph.D. on September 04, 2017 in The Secular Shepherd
The use of collective power for those in need

Do I Dare to Read a Poem?

The poets considered most brilliant are the ones who most directly confront our deepest fears.

52 Ways to Show I Love You: Honor the Irreplaceable Moments

By Roni Beth Tower Ph.D., ABPP on September 03, 2017 in Life, Refracted
Moments in our life that are unique and memorable bring opportunities to show love of our self and of another. They require us to slow down, allow the mystical, and be authentic.

6 Relationship Tips You Can Offer Your Grown Daughter

By Dena Kouremetis on August 31, 2017 in The Unedited Offspring
We can’t control, nor should we want to control our grown daughters' lives by injecting ourselves into them.

Your Seven Keys to Good Thinking

By Guy P. Harrison on August 31, 2017 in About Thinking
These seven keys to good thinking will serve you well over your lifetime.

You Can Use Mindfulness to Choose How to Live

We can learn to be present for our experience without our habitual responses automatically kicking in—responses that are often unskillful, knee-jerk reactions that we later regret.

The Purpose of Meditation [Video]

Why your awesome goal-setting skills are holding you back in your mindfulness and meditation practice.

Feeding the Gentle Wolf: The Power of Mindfulness Practice

Have you heard the buzz about mindfulness? Want to put it into practice in your life? Here are some simple ideas to get you started.

Second Wedding Bridal Shower: Pictures from the Past

This is what women look like when we're really laughing, I thought. This was me, and us, all those years ago. This is me, and us, still. What a luxury.

Is There Such a Thing as a Personal Destiny?

Does a preordained power we call destiny control both the nature of the events that occupy our lives and the resulting planned or spontaneous actions we take?

A Mindful Meditation on the Mysteries of Life, for Children

Even very young children can worry about death, birth, and change. And So It Goes is a delightful illustrated book for children who have questions about the mysteries of life.

Creativity and Aging

By Roberta Satow Ph.D. on August 20, 2017 in Life After 50
Does creativity involve taking risks?

How the Media Influences Us...Perhaps Without Our Awareness

By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on August 20, 2017 in How To Do Life
We explore using an example: the play, The Book of Mormon.

Are Older People Wiser?

By Lawrence R Samuel Ph.D. on August 20, 2017 in Boomers 3.0
Memory worsens as we get older, but research also suggests that our strategy for the way that we process thoughts and information changes for the better.

Are Friends the Enemies of Wise Choices?

Could your friends be causing you to make bad choices? Avoid this problem with a few tips from this piece.

Mental Health Principles from the Wisdom of Psychotherapy

In thinking about a value system based on psychotherapeutic principles, I began to consider some guidelines that might be of value for achieving a freer, more satisfying existence.

Who Do You Choose to Be?

By Marcia Reynolds Psy.D. on August 13, 2017 in Wander Woman
Whether you are wondering why you exist or looking to define the legacy you want to leave behind, these three steps will help you define your direction.

How Facing Nuclear Destruction Could Make Us Wiser.

By Grant H. Brenner M.D. on August 11, 2017 in ExperiMentations
We are apparently in a nuclear standoff. Do we find ourselves here again because we can't cope with death anxiety? Terror management theory informs the discussion.

Seven Studies Show That Virtue Truly Is Its Own Reward

By Meg Selig on August 09, 2017 in Changepower
Is virtue really its own reward? These seven studies suggest that good actions actually do bring a surprising wealth of benefits to those who help others.

False Is the New True—Part 2

By Eric Dietrich Ph.D. on August 08, 2017 in Excellent Beauty
Humans have never really like the truth, simply because it is almost always inconvenient. So, what's different now about blizzard of lies we experience everyday? Backsliding.
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Dealing with Loneliness

By Tara Well Ph.D. on August 07, 2017 in The Clarity
Six ways loneliness can help you improve your relationship with yourself and others.