I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the concept of wisdom. This all started as I began to reflect on some personal advice I had given a colleague a few weeks ago; the advice was well-received and I’m sure it was helpful, but it made me wonder if the advice I gave was wise? Meaning, was it the right advice? Was it simply my personal opinion or was it backed by some knowledge or experience? That led me down the path of asking how does someone obtain wisdom?
I have been thinking a lot lately about the concept of wisdom. This all started as I began to reflect on some personal advice I had given a colleague a few weeks ago; the advice was well-received and I’m sure it was helpful, but it made me wonder if the advice I gave was wise? Meaning, was it the right advice? Was it simply my personal opinion or was it backed by some knowledge or experience? That led me down the path of asking how does someone obtain wisdom?
I started thinking about some of the leaders I have had throughout my career. I won’t name them here publicly, but I have had the privilege of working with some incredible leaders that have been full of wisdom. Just to stress this, the word “incredible” doesn’t do these leaders justice; these leaders have helped to mold me by showing grace, humility, and patience in my life. They have shown me how to balance work and life, how to work hard and make progress in business while having fun, and they’ve shown me how to build and manage a team. I am incredibly grateful for what these leaders have done for me.
There’s another aspect of this too; those bad leaders that I’ve encountered in my career. I know what you’re thinking … you’re already listing off all those bad leaders you’ve had in your career. That’s okay, we’ve all had them. The point I want to make is how you can learn from these poor leaders; just as you learn aspects to emulate from good leaders, you can also learn aspects that you should not emulate from poor leaders. In my experience, learning from poor leaders is almost more valuable than learning from good leaders. Every experience that we encounter, good or bad, is worth learning from. The question is how do you learn from your experience?
Back to my original question about wisdom, the experiences we have with leaders certainly help to mold our wisdom. But, that’s not the only place that we gain wisdom. I began to think back beyond my work career, all the way back to my childhood. My parents, teachers, coaches, and friends imparted wisdom on me. Some more than others and some better than others. I learned a ton from my parents; my mom taught me grit and endurance, how to not just survive but thrive in any situation. My dad taught me how to think about things from a different perspective; how to problem solve by evaluating the various perspectives of a given problem. While there were good things I learned, I also observed things that I didn’t like that I have chosen not to emulate.
As I get older and grow in maturity, I find myself continuing to seek and desire wisdom. Not just knowledge but real wisdom that can help guide my thoughts and conversations. The Bible is an incredible source for guidance and wisdom. I know I just lost some of you as you’re now thinking “this guys is some type of holy-roller”. But, stick with me for just a moment longer. Look a just a few verses that discuss how we can gain wisdom:
“Listen to advise and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future”.Proverbs 19:20
“In whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge”.Colossians 2:3
“Joyful is the person who finds wisdom, the one who gains understanding”.Proverbs 3:13
As you continue to seek and grow in wisdom, I hope you will find someone you can listen to and accept instruction from. This could be a leader that you look to for mentorship, it could be a friend or a peer, or it could be something more spiritual that guides you. Whatever it is, find it and grow in wisdom.