Attaining wisdom is the most important thing you can do. Those aren’t my words, but rather the words of King Solomon in Proverbs 4, verse 7. King Solomon said that wisdom is the principal or chief thing. It is the one pillar that determines the stability and authenticity of one’s character.
What is wisdom? It is the ability to judge or discern correctly; taking the best course of action based on the information you have received. Wisdom is not knowledge, but rather the ability to use knowledge in the most productive and effective manner. Austin O’Malley said “Knowledge is flour, but wisdom is bread”. Knowledge is simply the ingredients, but wisdom is the ability to assimilate and transform those ingredients into something that can feed and nourish the world.
Wisdom is not simply information that we have gained from books. It is not a high I.Q. It is not good business savvy. Wisdom is the maturity and insight to be able to put knowledge to good use. Wisdom is not determined by how many words we speak, but rather by the maximization of a few words in order to accomplish a goal or task. Ivan Panin said “The wise has his thought in his head; the fool, on his tongue”.
So, how does one attain more wisdom? One way is through the proper evaluation of our experiences. Leonardo da Vinci said that wisdom is the daughter of experience. There is much wisdom that can be harvested from both our successes and our failures. Filing away the many lessons we learn on our journey is a potential stockpile of wisdom that can be applied to future challenges.
Another way to gain wisdom is from the experiences of others. The wise counsel of a parent or mentor is an invaluable source of wisdom along life’s journey. If we are teachable, those who have traveled a path we are just beginning can teach us about the many pitfalls and land minds along the way. Through the experience of others, we can learn what to do and, more importantly, what not to do by simply observing and listening.
Lastly, James 1:5 says that wisdom can be gained simply by asking God who is willing to give it liberally to all who asks. There is no shortage of wisdom available to us if we are willing to ask for it and seek it out, and that would be a very wise thing to do.