How to Increase Your Wisdom for a Better Quality of Life

Due to Covid-19, our lives have been altered in ways that are creating more stress, depression and troubled family relationships. The goal of this month’s blog is to give you tools to Improve your wisdom to make better decisions, reduce stress, and help you adapt better and feel more in control.

Definition of Wisdom:

I. “The ability to use your knowledge and experience to make good decisions and judgments, and the ability to discern inner qualities and relationships: insight and good sense.” (Cambridge and Merriam/Webster Dictionaries)

II. “Wisdom is a uniquely human and complex personality trait comprised of several specific components, including empathy and compassion, self-reflection and insight, emotional regulation, decisiveness in the midst of uncertainty, and spirituality. This definition is based on literature reviews, expert panel consensus, and qualitative studies”. (Psychology Today)

Ironically, living in the time of Covid-19 has given us a unique opportunity: the time and necessity to increase our wisdom. We now have the space and time to process our thoughts and feelings. Wisdom comes when we take the time to reflect and evaluate the choices we are making, and learn how to make better decisions.

“The saddest aspect of life right now is that science gathers knowledge faster than society gathers wisdom.” ― Isaac Asimov

According to Psychology Today https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/wisdom: “wisdom involves an integration of knowledge, experience, and deep understanding, as well as a tolerance for the uncertainties of life. There’s an awareness of how things play out over time, and it confers a sense of balance.”

In our pre-COVID-19 lives, most of us had established routines, obligations, and activities that consumed our time. Even our discretionary time was filled with activities that had often become habits, such as TV, time on our devices including emails, texts, and social media and perhaps video games. And/or we filled our time with social events and interactions, shopping or other events.

With COVID-19, much of that has changed and many of us find ourselves challenged with finding ways to redefine how we spend our time. It’s an opportunity to improve the quality of your life!

Many of our ingrained habits and ways of thinking have prevented us from developing the kind of wisdom that will help us get through not only COVID-19, but life in general. So it’s important to identify our routines and lifestyles in order to know how to transition them to wisdom.”

The following steps will serve as your guide:

First step: Are you an over-thinker or an under-thinker? Instead of continuing to operate on auto-pilot, this is an opportunity to learn from how your thoughts might be reducing your quality of life. Remember: “Don’t believe everything you think” (Allan Lokos)

If you are an over-thinker:
Do you think so much about your activities that you become paralyzed about taking action or making decisions?

What do those over-thinking thoughts look like? They might be about needing to make sure you will do things perfectly, so you ruminate, think about different options, how others might react, and procrastinate because you haven’t been able to figure out what will be the perfect result?

You might over-think because of your expectation of disappointing or angering someone, and want to avoid being judged or reacted to in a negative way.

You might over-think because you are faced with something you don’t really want to do, like going to a job you don’t like, meeting social obligations you don’t want, or lack the skills to accomplish the task before you.

Write down which of the above is true for you or what other reasons you might have.

If you are an under-thinker:
Under-thinkers tend to act impulsively. Do you see a task, get an idea, or react more on the basis of your emotions in the moment? Or do you purposely avoid thinking about your actions because you feel intimidated, are fearful of the consequences of what your thoughts might bring? If your action doesn’t turn out the way you wanted, you are prone to rationalize or justify what you did so you won’t have to think about it.

What increases your wisdom:

Critical Thinking—When you think critically, you regularly monitor your thoughts (but not to excess!). You ask yourself, “What is likely to be the outcome of acting on these thoughts? How will I feel? How is the action I take likely to affect others? What other ways can I think about this that will have better results? This is especially helpful when you are facing an important decision. Critical thinking involves open-mindedness, being open to different perspectives, and the ability to see the “big picture.”

Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.” ― Aristotle

Listening—When you truly listen to others’ ideas, opinions, and perspectives, without focusing on your response, you are likely to acquire information you many not have had before. Sincerely listening doesn’t mean you are agreeing with the other person. It doesn’t mean that you accept what they say as true for you or others. It does mean you are willing to accept what they say as true for them.

“Knowledge speaks, but wisdom listens” ― Jimi Hendrix

Learning—There are many ways to learn—the kind that brings wisdom is not simply reading articles or a book, taking a class, hearing a lecture, or getting advice from a role model or mentor. All of these sources can provide information. It’s what you do with the information that determines gaining wisdom. If you simply absorb the information and are even able to repeat it to others, you will not necessarily become wiser. To gain wisdom, you need to use critical thinking skills, including asking yourself what you agree or disagree with, in what ways does the information provide a different viewpoint or perspective, a challenge to your values or beliefs, and what might you have to gain from the information that will improve your life in a tangible way.

It is not that I’m so smart. But I stay with the questions much longer.” ― Albert Einstein

Quiet Time—In our current societal norms, quiet time is not highly valued. Our dependence on our computers and cell phones with its constant presence inviting us to text, and use social media has become a means to keep our attention focused, busy and avoid spending time with ourselves, our thoughts, our feelings, our whole internal experience. For some, the enforced social isolation with Covid-19 has been an opportunity to have some quiet time that we hadn’t had before. For some, quiet time is uncomfortable or even stressful, because we aren’t used to having it and don’t know what to do with it. If you are fortunate, you see the quiet time as an opportunity to open your mind to new ways of thinking, new perspectives on learning, and a chance to listen more, both to others and to yourself.

Each of these four practices will give you the opportunity to acquire more wisdom. You will benefit by making better choices, feeling more confidence in your decisions, and increase your enjoyment of life.

Any fool can know. The point is to understand.” ― Albert Einstein

The desire to reach for the stars is ambitious. The desire to reach hearts is wise.” –Maya Angelou

I hope this has given you some food for thought. If you have any comments, questions, or suggestions, I’d love to hear from you.

And, if there are any subjects you’d like me to write about, I’d be interested in knowing what they are.

If you’d like to gain some wisdom in parenting, check out my award winning book…“Your Living Legacy, How Your Parenting Style Shapes the Future for You and Your Child.” Available on Amazon.

Feel free to send this to anyone you think might be interested.

Best,
Shelli