Can we become wiser? A five-month "course"

Were you an eager-beaver achiever at school? If so, you might enjoy a five-month “course” in wisdom, starting today. If not, you might like the freedom of dipping in, now and again, to see if there’s anything here that applies to your life. In either case, I can promise no tests, no grades, no passing or failing. Only stimulating thoughts every week on topics that matter for a life well-lived.

 

Twenty weeks, twenty questions, between now and the end of the year. Are you up for it?

What do I mean by “wisdom”? I’m not talking about the stars here, or God, or the origin of the universe. I’m talking about how you understand yourself and treat others. Wisdom for everyday living with more compassion and understanding.

 

When I embarked on my project, one wise woman asked me: “How do you define wisdom?” I had trouble with that. Don’t we all have different definitions?

 

I started by thinking of people who sometimes act in ways I consider “unwise” – as well as times I considered my own reactions unwise. I wrote a list of attributes I consider unwise. Then I decided that was too negative, so I turned it around. Here’s the list I came up with:

 

A wise person does the following:

  • Figures out a way to maintain positive healthy relationships with most friends and family
  • Understands and respects others’ needs and feelings
  • Knows how to let go of and rise above bitterness and past troubles
  • Finds a way to express anger without letting it poison relationships
  • Knows how to emerge from negative thinking and overcome it
  • Takes charges of his or her life and finds purpose and direction
  • Helps others with a good heart and intention
  • Thinks and behaves toward others with humility, kindness and compassion
  • Seeks a way to make the world a better place.

I’m rather fond of this list, but I realize others would define wisdom in a different way.

How would you define wisdom? Please let me know!

And come back in a few days and I’ll let you know what some experts say.