Wisdom is a word that gets thrown around a lot.
We use to describe a piece of advice or quote that is unusually helpful and sensible.
But if we look at what makes up a “wise person” it’s easy to see that it’s a summation of many different positive traits and behaviors.
So in this article, I’m going to go over 17 characteristics of a wise person.
If you relate to these signs then you yourself might be wiser than you think!
1. They learn from their mistakes and experiences
“The secret of life, though, is to fall seven times and to get up eight times.” – Paulo Coelho
The world is incredibly complex, and it’s impossible to be right about everything.
A wise person is always looking to get better, and that means learning from their mistakes.
After all, learning from mistakes and failures is how they became so wise in the first place.
A wise person doesn’t associate their ego with their opinions, which is why they can easily say, “I was wrong”.
They can admit that something they once believed in is now wrong because they have more evidence and proof.
2. They are open-minded
A wise person understands all perspectives without letting bias or emotions get in the way.
This means accepting that there are always two sides to a story, and realizing that everyone has good reasons for thinking the way they do.
This is why a wise person will take a step back and look at the overall picture before making an opinion.
3. They don’t assume they’re always right
A wise person isn’t dogmatic with their opinion.
They’re not aggressive, demanding that you follow everything they have to say.
They know that life is too complex to assume they’re always right.
They don’t assume they are the best person in the room.
As Socrates said, “the only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.”
When they address a problem, they approach it from multiple different perspectives.
A wise person listens more than talks, evaluates more than acts and collaborates instead of dictates.
4. They don’t have a strong ego
A wise person doesn’t possess much of an ego.
They’ve been through a lot in life and understand how useless and fragile the ego is.
They don’t judge other people.
They don’t feel a need to talk themselves up.
When they talk with other people, it’s less about them and more about how they can help.
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5. They have thick skin
A wise person isn’t sensitive.
When someone tries to put them down with a mean comment, it doesn’t bother them in the slightest.
It’s water off a duck’s back.
They understand that life is tough for everyone, so they accept that sometimes some people are going to lash out and get angry.
They know that no one is out to get them, but it’s just a way for them to let out their insecurities.
After all, what people think about you says more about them than what it does about you.
This also makes a wise person excellent communicators, as they can diffuse arguments and resentment with understanding dialogue.
6. They’re observant
You can’t be wise without being observant.
They’ve seen a lot in life, and they’re always taking a step back and soaking in as much information as they can.
This is why they’re not quick to pass judgment and they don’t get emotional very easily.
They prefer to take an overarching view of everything before giving their advice.
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7. They’re always learning
“By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.” – Confucious
A wise person is curious about anything and everything around them.
They’re looking to understand things they don’t know.
They want to know the Whys and Hows that make up the world, no matter what the topic might be.
This comes from an innate sense of fascination and respect for everything around them.
8. A wise person is able to reflect and think
A wise person loves spending time to enjoy their own solitude, to reflect, to meditate, and to dive deep into introspection.
This is another reason they’ve been able to learn so much in life.
They think about the things they believe in, and the things they’ve learned along the journey of life.
Through introspection, they understand themselves better every single day.
9. They are accepting of change
It’s difficult to accept change. Humans like to think that everything is fixed.
But the truth is, the universe is constantly changing all the time and if you can’t accept that then you’ll probably cause yourself suffering.
A wise person understands that this is the way the world operates.
They know change might be a little frightening, but embrace it is the only way to grow and adapt.
After all, they don’t let the changing nature of life scare them, because why should fear something you can’t stop in the first place?
10. They are not too concerned with material possessions
The wiser someone gets, the more they realize that material possessions aren’t as important as experiences and relationships with others.
A wise person doesn’t tie their happiness to superficial goals or possessions.
A wise person understands that to be truly happy means to be living in the moment while working towards a meaningful goal that is bigger than themselves.
They understand that life doesn’t revolve around them.
This is why they focus on helping others and looking at the bigger picture of everything.
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11. They are cool, calm, and collected
A wise person doesn’t get overly emotional in stressful situations.
They realize that it doesn’t do them any good.
After all, time spent worrying is usually wasted time.
A wise person takes a step back, reflects on the challenging situation, and then acts in the most effective way possible.
12. A wise person gives fantastic advice to others
“Learn to light a candle in the darkest moments of someone’s life. Be the light that helps others see; it is what gives life its deepest significance.” – Roy T. Bennett
Well, you probably knew this sign was coming, right?
After all, wise people give wise advice.
They’ve learned from everything they encountered in life (which is a lot!) and they’re also to express these lessons in a simple fashion that anyone can understand.
A wise person’s words cut through the crap and get straight to the point.
The best bit?
A wise person is on a mission to help others so their advice is given with the perspective of the person in mind.
A wise person has a high degree of empathy and they really care about the problems of others.
This is why a wise person can so often give life-changing advice.
They’ve been there before and they understand how difficult life can be.
13. They tend to be very introspective
“Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.” – Rumi
As much as wise people enjoy studying the world around them, they also spend a great deal of time studying themselves.
They constantly analyze their thoughts and emotions and understand exactly who they are.
This is why they don’t try to be someone they’re not.
They come as they are because they haven’t got any insecurities. They don’t need to hide anything about themselves.
14. They notice things most people don’t bother about
Because they constantly reflect and observe, a wise person picks up on things that simply pass others by.
They notice the small details and subtle hints that other people simply don’t pick up on, like how that one friend that everyone else likes seems to smile a bit too sharply and laugh a bit too loudly.
They can read between the lines and pick up on nuance more easily, which means it’s often a good idea to listen to what they have to say.
15. They’re not fond of small talk
While wise people are generally patient, they quickly get bored of talking without any real substance— that is, small talk.
They need to be able to glean something interesting from the conversation, something to stimulate their mind.
Thus, when they get nothing absolutely interesting when they tune in, they feel like their time is being wasted and will want nothing more than to get out of there and look for something that’s actually worth their time.
To them, why sit around talking about the weather or the color of your fingernails when you can instead talk about the fact that birds are actually dinosaurs or discuss the latest news in-depth.
16. They’re compassionate and they don’t judge
Being compassionate is a hallmark of a wise person. Compassion is kindness in action.
When they see others in pain, they want to act to help them alleviate it.
Because they’re so sensitive to other people’s struggles and pain, they also don’t judge.
Everybody is going through their own private battle, and there is almost always more to what’s going on with someone than what meets the eye.
17. They’re humble
A wise person has a confident yet modest opinion of their own self-importance.
They don’t see themselves as “too good” for other people.
After all, everybody is unique and there is always something to learn from anyone.
When they give life-changing advice, they do so as someone who is on the same level as the person they’re talking to.
This is why a wise person’s message is received so well.
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