I enjoyed an article by Catherine Pearson on the 7 secrets of wise people and how to become one now. She states that wise people have at least a few things in common: They’re experienced, kind and of a certain age. Wisdom, the thinking generally goes, is hard-earned by putting in your time and picking together scraps of knowledge along the way.
So what are the secrets of those people who are wise beyond their years? Professor Monika Ardelt, from the University of Florida, defines wisdom as a combination of cognitive, reflective and compassionate qualities. Ardelt shares a few traits that wise people tend to have in common:
1. Wise people have a lot of experiences.
Experience is one of the true cornerstones of wisdom.
2. And they’re sponges.
It’s not just experiences alone that make you wise, it is learning from them. The key is soaking up lessons wherever you are, whether it’s the town where you’ve lived your entire life, or some far-flung location.
3. Wise people see what’s right in front of them.
Wise people know something. But the interesting thing is not that they know more, about, say, the origin of the universe … wise people actually know the deeper meaning of things that are generally known, actually. Wise people place an emphasis on relationships, spirituality and personal growth rather than on more superficial markers of success.
4. They meditate.
Meditation, a kind of self-examination, has long been believed to be a pathway to wisdom. Ardelt says, “It’s kind of a time out of everyday life by just observing the great, or observing sensations. Naturally, things come up and the trick is just to accept it, whatever it is, and not to react with negativity.”
5. Wise people grow from crises.
Often the people who are considered wise beyond their years have survived a trauma, or several, and have effectively coped with it.
6. They have a strong support network.
It may be a formal support group, therapy, friends or family.
7. They’re tolerant.
Compassion is a key component of wisdom. That’s why reflection is so important … it helps you see yourself as you truly are, limitations and all, so you can then empathize with others, and act accordingly.