I spend a lot of time writing and thinking about what wisdom is. I like to think how we can share the wisdom we’ve developed over our lifetime with others.
Many times people I’m talking with will stop me and ask what I mean by the word wisdom. That’s what our post will be about today.
My definition of wisdom
For me, wisdom is the sum of the life experiences that you’ve had, the mistakes you’ve made and the lessons you’ve learned from your mistakes. In a certain respect wisdom comes from things you’ve read, whether they are articles or books. It comes from attending seminars and learning from masters and you can even get wisdom from watching movies and video.
Those are the easy ways of gaining wisdom. The hard one is the school of hard knocks or just living life. The longer we live, the more opportunities we have to experience life and learn lessons along the way.
The challenge with wisdom
The challenge with learning all the lessons we can from living is telling ourselves the truth. For many, looking in the mirror and telling yourself the truth is a very difficult thing to do.
The only way this happens is if you become responsible for your own experience. When you live in a world where things aren’t your fault, you won’t learn anything. If that’s you, then for you to gain and share wisdom will become almost impossible.
For me, personal responsibility is the one trait that’s allowed me to learn and think about the wisdom that I’ve gained. This doesn’t mean that I’m a perfect person. I’m far away from that. What it allows me to learn is what I could have done differently and what I want to do differently in the future.
How to gain and share wisdom
Now that you know what wisdom is and how you identify its lessons, it’s time to think about how you share your wisdom. If you only gain wisdom and never share it, shame on you.
You can share your wisdom by writing for others, do videos that others consume or my favorite, just have one-on-one conversations with others.
Now that you know how to gain wisdom, it’s time for you to learn how to share it. The reason I like one-on-one sharing is it’s the most effective way to share wisdom. It’s not the easiest nor is it the way to have the widest audience. That’s where creating content for others comes in.
When you have individual conversations, you have time to follow up and provide followup information. It’s follow up information where you really get to teach lessons you’ve learned. It’s also where I find the most satisfaction in sharing any wisdom I may have developed.
Why wisdom is the something it takes time to develop
Wisdom and learning are two different things. Learn to gain wisdom. You also have to live for a significant period of time for those lessons to have perspective.
I find having perspective on what I’ve learned is where wisdom comes from. When I was younger, I learned and learned and learned. I had very little wisdom because although I had learned the theory I had tried to apply none of those theories in the real world.
The longer I live, the more experience I’ve had. Those experiences tell me whether what I learned make any sense and if that knowledge applies in the real world. Often I find it’s not. When I learn that, I know it’s not worth sharing.
If experience tells me it works, then it’s a great thing to share. The longer I have to experience lessons, the better understanding I have about how well or poorly they work. This takes years and years and it’s why in many societies we venerate those who have lived many years.
How to share what you’ve learned
Wisdom I’ve gained allows me to stop making many mistakes. Not all, we make mistakes for our entire life. When I share any wisdom, I’ve gained I anchor what I’ve learned in my experience. The stronger those anchors are, the easier it becomes for me to share what I’ve learned.
Often, when we share information we just blurt it out whether the person we’re speaking with wants to hear it or not. My recommendation is to stop doing this.
Instead, make sure the person you’re speaking with wants to learn what you know. Just spouting what you “should” do is something that never works well. Instead, when someone is curious, then it’s time to share.
You can always write blog posts, produce solo podcasts or videos. Those who are interested can find your thoughts and if they’re interested, they can follow up with you. I’m always amazed and thankful that almost anyone I’ve reached out to has responded with useful information from wisdom they’ve gained over their life.
You can do the same. You can put out what you think and then follow up with those who are interested.
This is especially true with your family. There is no need to cram what you’ve learned down other’s throats. Be there and be ready to share when the time comes. And, the time almost always comes.
Be a mentor to someone younger than you
When you live a full life, it’s almost criminal if you don’t share what you’ve learned with someone who’s at least two generations younger than you. When you do this, there are two things that happen.
First, you’re helping that younger person avoid mistakes you’ve made. The second is you’ll find you get a great deal of satisfaction sharing what you’ve learned.
I discovered this when I started helping rising generations get ready to take over a business. One of the most satisfying things I do is help younger folks get ready to step into senior roles in the business they work.
What about you? What do you find satisfying when you share wisdom with those who are younger? Why don’t you let me know in the comments below?