Many people often equate wisdom with intellect and being knowledgeable about facts and figures (I used to)! But being intelligent and having wisdom are definitely not the same things, although both can co-exist in a person.
Unlike intelligence, which is dependent on the how well you’ve trained your brain, wisdom is something altogether different.
Wisdom is something that can only be acquired through life experience and learning from other wise people. And this is something that I’ve only really embodied in the past 18 months or so.
I was lucky to have had an education with teachers who saw teaching as a vocation and not just a job. I loved school and was always one of the first to complete assignments before time and ask for extra credit work. I typically got As for the subjects I loved and Bs for those I wasn’t so bothered about (history and physical education). I never studied for exams because I didn’t have to — I always paid attention in class and outside of the classroom I was reading. And reading. And reading some more.
After finishing college and moving to London as a young adult, the way I chose to get out and make new friends was by taking adult education classes after I finished work. Over the years I learned everything from classic Russian literature to beginners Dutch and bellydancing.
But my wisdom hasn’t been gained by 20 years of attending evening classes and reading even more books.
Wisdom Is Knowledge With Scars
My path to wisdom has been my own personal quest of stepping outside of my comfort zone on the occasions I’ve had to deal with tragedy and the many harsh situations I found myself facing.
My path to wisdom has been about keeping an open mind to the growth I knew was possible after the setbacks and difficulties I’ve faced in my 53 years, including depression, chronic illness and burnout (three times!).
My path to wisdom has been a catalyst in helping me to transmute my emotion baggage and trauma into self love, which has become my greatest strength.
My path to wisdom has enabled me to rise above my own limited perceptions as a human to help me see things as they are.
Yet wisdom doesn’t come automatically with age — I’m lucky enough to have some very wise younger friends. And although older people may be more capable of wisdom, many never put their life experiences to good use — sadly, my own mother springs to mind.
It has been said that wisdom is a divine gift. And through my wisdom I now know that divine gifts are not ours to possess, they are given to us for a reason — it is our mandate from the universe to share them with others.
So get out there, let your voice be heard and share your wisdom!