If you want to be wiser as you get older, say goodbye to these 7 behaviors

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Most people dread getting older. 

Fair enough. 

But looking at aging only from a singular perspective is limiting–and well, frankly a bit depressing too. 

Instead, we should age gracefully by embracing the positive aspects of the process. 

Nobody is immune to getting older, so we might as well enjoy it. 

One amazing thing about aging, for instance, is that most of us will inevitably become wiser too.

Trust me, a bit of wisdom goes a long way.

But if you want to gain it, you first need to let go of certain behaviors. 

Let’s get to it! 

1) Close-mindedness

There’s a certain category of “older” folk who resist practically all change regarding opinions, mindsets, methods, and so on. 

They remain painstakingly stubborn; in their minds, they might think: “This is the way it’s always been done, and that’s that!” 

This is a rather obtuse way of going about life, not taking into account the evolution of thought, of human beings. 

Progress, whether in tech or science or idealogy, has been a constant throughout all of documented history; a process that, as long as the civilization exists, will never cease. 

This means there are better, more innovative methods of doing things today compared to when my parents were my age; and my kids (purely hypothetical) will have better ways than me. 

Progress is all but a guarantee. This is just the nature of the universe. 

So rather than fight change, it’s in your interests to continually embrace new ideas and perspectives, have intellectual humility, and learn from other people. 

Trust me, overly rigid thinking won’t be doing you any favors moving forward. 

2) Negativity

I used to complain a lot. 

I used to think that being cynical was somehow “cool”, funny, or rebellious. 

But for those around me, the act got old real quick. 

Instead of looking subversive, I just seemed like an entitled, arrogant jerk. 

Wisdom is replacing negative thoughts with positive ones. 

Wisdom is focusing on solutions, rather than dwelling on problems and not doing anything about them. 

Wisdom is not about being pessimistic, as I once believed it was. 

Besides, sustained positive thinking is incredibly healthy–and will almost certainly make you live longer. 

3) Impulsive reactions

They say still waters run deep; a sentiment I’ve found to be mostly true. 

If more people took a deep breath and collected themselves, rather than react to unfavorable situations with sheer emotion, the world would generally be a far more harmonious, peaceful place

So next time someone says something disagreeable to you, rather than blurt out obscenities, pause and gather your thoughts, taking time to reflect before reacting. 

Wise decisions never come from rashness. 

They almost always arrive through careful, calculated consideration. 

4) Excessive worry 

I’ll be honest: I was once a full-time worry wart. 

I’d worry about everything under the sun, typically arriving at conclusions based on flimsy (at best) evidence. 

From whether my girlfriend was going to leave me because her body language was different to whether I had contracted a terminal illness to whether I offended my friend’s second cousin fifteen years ago, worrying overcame me; it was the dominant theme of my life. 

Constantly feeling stressed and anxious, particularly about things I had no control over, was no way to live. 

I worried because all my mental energy was focused inward. 

Rather than living for something bigger, I was extremely self-absorbed in a sense. 

Through activities like mindfulness and meditation and the odd bit of charity work, I gained perspective. 

I began to focus on what I could change, letting go of everything else. 

My chronic and irrational worrying is now mostly a thing of the past–and I’m far wiser for it.

5) Self-doubt 

When you’re hitting puberty, it’s normal to feel a bit unsure of yourself. 

You might be overly concerned about others’ perception of you. 

Therefore, you become excessively careful and hyper-aware of your movements or how you come across. 

Maybe, you’ll be too hard on yourself for your shortcomings or mistakes–something that can eventually spiral into perpetual self-doubt.

As you grow in wisdom, you begin to realize that everyone’s opinion of you doesn’t really matter. 

You start living for yourself, not everyone else. 

If you make the occasional mistake, you acknowledge it, then pick yourself up and try again. 

So believe in yourself and your abilities. Building confidence is crucial for your personal development. 

Realize that making mistakes is a fundamental part of life. 

Once you realize that failure is a stepping stone to success, things will turn around for you. 

Rather than wallow in self-doubt, you’ll embrace your blunders as opportunities to learn and grow and come back stronger. 

Learn from the past, but don’t dwell on it. 

Concentrate on today and look forward to the future.

6) Need for approval 

We live in a time when everyone constantly longs for approval and validation. 

Social media makes these demands easier–and more immediate. 

Uploading a selfie or a photo of you “living your best life” and getting a few likes and comments will instantly give you that highly sought-after fix. 

But is this really an authentic way of living life? 

I think we all know the answer. 

The truth is that validation should come from deep within, not from social media or any other external platform.

Once again, wisdom means being fulfilled and content without the need for other people’s approval. 

Trust your instincts and decisions rather than relying on what everyone else has to say. 

Once you make this shift, you’ll never look back. 

7) Lack of self-care

Life is short. 

You don’t want to spend it working to oblivion or looking after your kids 24/7. 

It may sound counterintuitive, but you need to sometimes be a bit selfish; it’s your autonomous life, after all. 

Balance is key. 

This means actively taking care of your physical, mental, and emotional well-being without feeling guilty; it means prioritizing self-care and maintaining a healthy, well-rounded life. 

Take some time out of every day to pursue activities you truly enjoy that soothe your soul–whether that’s doing yoga, taking lengthy warm baths, walking your dogs in the park on a cool day, or sleeping in on weekends. 

Or all of the above. The possibilities are literally endless. 

For me, self-care is cooking a new recipe a few times a week; something my partner and I can look forward to and enjoy. 

Take it from the late American writer and activist Audre Lorde: “I have come to believe that caring for myself is not self-indulgent. Caring for myself is an act of survival.”

Now that’s wisdom.

Ethan Sterling

Ethan Sterling has a background in entrepreneurship, having started and managed several small businesses. His journey through the ups and downs of entrepreneurship provides him with practical insights into personal resilience, strategic thinking, and the value of persistence. Ethan’s articles offer real-world advice for those looking to grow personally and professionally.

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