Wisdom and intelligence are often lumped together.
But they’re not always the same thing.
Here are the actions that show a degree of wisdom, not just smarts.
1) Getting in touch with your soul
Your soul, or psyche, if you prefer, is a very real thing.
Sadly, many people go through life mostly on autopilot and are misled in various ways.
None of us are perfect and all of us go astray.
But one of the top signs that you’re wise is that you get in touch with your own soul instead of just taking somebody else’s word for what’s true or important.
You find out for yourself about what you care about, what you feel and what you experience as true!
2) You make decisions with your heart, not just your head
When you have to make a big decision in life, what’s your process?
My process has evolved over the years.
I used to ask other people their opinions and “outsource” my decision-making process.
Or else I’d look up as much facts and figures as I could and try to make a “rational” decision.
That didn’t really turn out so well, to be quite honest.
What started to turn things around and was also a sign of incipient wisdom, was when I started using my heart as well as my head.
Yes, pragmatic things matter in your decisions and life, but you have to listen to your heart.
In your job, your relationships and everything else: wisdom comes from the heart.
3) You don’t trust too easily
As a wise individual you don’t just take a guru or religious leader’s word for what you should feel or think or experience.
You practice introspection, prayer, meditation.
You talk to people from all walks of life.
You spend time alone, fasting and experiencing the many sides of life.
You make close friends and connect up with people of all kinds, but you don’t trust too easily.
You get to know somebody before you engage in close business or relationships with them.
4) You don’t judge a book by its cover
I’ll be a bit controversial here:
You can tell a hell of a lot about a book by its cover.
And the same goes for people.
Because even if somebody is putting on a false front or persona, you can tell a lot about them by what they’re pretending to be.
Nonetheless, while a smart person may be able to tell many clues from somebody’s appearance, speech and mannerisms, a wise person looks even deeper.
As a wise person, you allow your judgments and perceptions to sit quietly for a bit.
You give people a chance to reveal more of themselves than just what they first present to you.
And you also understand that just like you, other people are constantly evolving, changing and growing.
Nothing in nature is static, including us humans!
5) You care about what’s true not just what people believe is true
These days with all the woke nonsense, cancel culture, political polarization and more, there’s a strong tendency to fall in line.
Many intelligent people repeat things they absolutely do not believe.
They do so because it’s part of DEI training (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion).
They do so because their boyfriend or girlfriend believes it.
They do so because they think it’s what “good” people believe.
The result is nations of lemmings and smart people believing absolutely insane things.
Wise people don’t bother with this sort of thing. They believe what they think is true, not what’s popular.
And if they have to believe something to keep their job or attend university, they just keep their mouth shut and grin and bear it.
6) You enjoy giving more than you enjoy getting
As a child we are dependent on the care and love of our parents and guardians.
We cry when we’re hungry and scream when we feel abandoned.
But as we grow, we take responsibility for our needs and begin to become self-sufficient.
The process is different for everyone and sometimes there are many failures to launch.
But sooner or later, in some way or other, we find ourselves and our own power.
Becoming self-sufficient, making a living and having a grip on your life is definitely necessary and smart!
But the mark of a wise person is that you enjoy giving even more than you enjoy receiving.
You want to bring joy and benefit to others more than almost anything, and not because you believe in “karma” or some salvation you’ll get for doing it.
Just because you really want to!
7) You understand the true power of humor
The power of humor is insanely big.
It’s not just that a joke can get people to laugh, it’s that it can open their heart and mind in a real way.
Those who bring a smile to our lips and make us laugh are truly special.
As a wise person you appreciate the real value and profundity of humor and laughter.
You know that a certain amount of life requires a deep belly laugh.
You understand the deep truth in the statement that sometimes the wisest people have to laugh so they don’t cry.
It’s not just a saying, it’s true.
8) You actually care about what’s true
When you’re smart you have many scientific, spiritual or religious beliefs.
You are sure that you get it.
You understand why we’re here, even if it’s no reason at all.
When you’re wise, you sit back and let your pride fall to the ground. You question for real.
What in the world is going on, really?
The wise individual doesn’t just want to be reassured or persuaded about what’s true.
He or she wants to find out.
And if that means asking questions all the way up to the front gates of Heaven or Hell, then so be it!
The truth matters. More than anything.
And that’s not idealism speaking, that’s just…the truth.
9) You know that changing the world is not only possible, but inevitable
What if I told you that you could change the world?
You would likely think I am exaggerating to pump you up or am a naive idealist.
The truth is that every single one of us changes the world every single day.
Maybe in small ways. Maybe in many ways we don’t notice.
But it’s true.
And years down the line somebody may be dead or alive because of you and what you do or do not do in your life.
Your life matters, and what you do matters.
Wise people understand on an instinctual level that they have the ability to question the status quo and change the way things are.
“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers.
The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently.
You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing, you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things.”
Jobs was right.
Many people who others think are “crazy” or just weird are actually ahead of the curve.
Take a look at history and do the math.
Very few “typical” people have changed the world.
10) Caring about actual results
Far too many smart people have all the answers about what’s true or smart or good.
But when it comes to showing actual results they have nothing.
They’re all talk, no action.
One of the strongest indicators that you’re the real deal is that you care about actual results.
You improve real lives, including your own.
You make real money, including money you used to think was out of reach.
You get results.
11) Thinking long-term
If you had a choice to get $500 right now or wait five years and get $5,000, which would you take?
Wisdom takes into account the longer-term picture.
When you’re wise you don’t just immediately respond to your desires and instincts.
The same goes in every other area:
Say you are a single guy and meet two women who you like for different reasons.
One is strikingly attractive but not very interesting to you on a personal level…
The other is less physically stunning to you but deeply absorbing and causes you to have romantic feelings.
The wise person will choose the second later.
As for most of us, we’ll try to double dip both and have our cake and eat it, too!
That’s why most of us aren’t wise!
Knowing what the future holds
The wise man or woman knows that the future is yet to be written.
He or she has fully accepted and embraced their limits of control and grappled with the unknown.
This surrender, rather than weakening somebody, makes them much stronger and brings an inner stability that’s impossible to fake.
True wisdom is taking each day as it comes and knowing that sometimes not knowing what will happen next and living in the mystery is the only way to be.