To become physically stronger, it’s understood that one must lift heavyweights.
To become smarter, one must study intensely.
But to be wiser?
That might not be very clear.
Wisdom is often seen as a side-effect of life experiences and a byproduct of age.
While there isn’t a true path to becoming wiser, there are definite paths that could lead towards becoming more foolish: relying too much on what you can’t control or forgetting what really matters in life.
These are just some of the things that the wise — old and young — understand that most people don’t.
1. They Don’t Try to Change What’s Out of Their Control
“For after all,” the American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote, “the best thing one can do when it is raining, is to let it rain.”
There are many things in life beyond our control that cause stress and frustration.
The traffic jam on the way to work.
The rainy weather on a special day. How others treat us.
The foolish think they can change these things to what they desire.
The wise know that’s impossible.
They understand that there are things in life that are within our control – our patience and humility – and beyond our control.
Focusing on what they can control is what makes the wise so effective in their lives and work.
2. It’s Crucial to Take Responsibility
Wise people take responsibility for their lives and tap into their personal power. They don’t let insecurities get the better of them.
I know, it can be difficult in the best of times to not dwell on your insecurities.
But wise people know that overcoming insecurities starts with embracing your strengths.
We all have them, even if we’re not always aware of them.
This is where you start to really tap into your personal power. It’s a process that takes time, but the more you work at it, the stronger you’ll feel — and the stronger it’ll be able to help you.
You see, we all have an incredible amount of power and potential within us, but most of us never tap into it.
We become bogged down in self-doubt and limiting beliefs. We stop doing what brings us true happiness.
3) People Change And There’s Nothing You Can Do About It
I like consistency. Routines are something that I settle in since they’re comfortable: I know what to expect and it helps keep my life organized.
As a result, I carry this expectation over to the people I keep in my company.
But something wise people know very well is that people change.
Someone will rarely stay completely the same way that they are for as long as you know them – and the simple matter is, any change they’ll make will be potentially out of your control.
This isn’t to say that everyone you know will change drastically in the years to come.
It’s simply a reminder that if they do, don’t immediately think that it’s your responsibility or your business to do something about it.
4) Being Tactful Is Better Than Being Honest
A lot of people think that honesty is an important trait to have. This is true, but there are also a lot of people that often confuse being honest with being cruel.
The fact is, the way you say something – no matter how true it is – matters.
People who just keep charging ahead expecting the truth to shield or justify them from all reactions or consequences aren’t being honest, they’re being cruel.
Yes, you might be right: but always ask yourself if being right gives you the go-ahead to ignore people’s feelings about it.
Wise people understand this. Being tactful isn’t condescending or patronizing to the other person, but it’s a way to be considerate of their feelings.
You can’t predict everyone’s reaction to the truth, so how you deliver it should always be something that you keep in mind.
5) Love Looks Different To Everyone
I’ve gotten into my fair share of romantic relationships, and something that took me a long time to understand is that love is very different for every person.
Sure, there are some common strokes that we can all agree on – but if we’re taking into account our own experiences, love can look incredibly diverse.
You might have heard of this in some form or the other (usually with conversations about love languages and such) but something that most people miss is love can also just look messed up.
People express love in different ways – and consequences aside, this will always look different to everyone.
Understanding this gives you much better insight into why people behave the way they do when in love and can help you decide if this is the type of love that you want to keep.
6) Don’t Forget Your Friends
Wise people understand that time is their most valuable resource. It’s finite.
It’s why they’re more cautious about what is worth spending their time on.
While chasing money and playing status games can seem attractive, the wise understand that such things don’t last.
They value the people they’re with more. That’s why they never forget their friends.
As they climb to the top, they always remember who helped them get there; who stood by them when they were on the verge of giving up on their dreams; who were the first to order their products or to show up at their events.
While they constantly make new friends, the wise know they can never make old ones.
7) Sometimes There Isn’t A Reason For Anything
We understand a lot of things about how life, the universe, and a lot of things work. However, we don’t understand everything. Wise people know this.
The search to find meaning is worthwhile, but it’s not always a search where you find something at the end.
Sometimes things just happen because they happen.
Sure, there may be triggers, factors, or circumstances behind it that we don’t know about.
That’s completely possible (since we’ve been limited by our own perspective on things) and can come back further down the line with your own life experiences.
But understanding that life just happens because it just does isn’t a bad perspective to internalize either.
You’ll be a lot more receptive to things not going your way if you get this perspective, and it’ll help you deal with life a lot easier.
8) Opinions Deserve To Be Expressed, Not Honored
Everyone is entitled to their own opinion.
Whether or not they keep to themselves is irrelevant: what matters is that people have the right to form their own thoughts, perspectives, and reactions to anything around them.
Wise people understand that while there’s nothing inherently wrong with having an opinion, what’s wrong is if the person in question expects everyone to accommodate them at all times about it.
There are just some things that are empirical facts: that gravity exists or fire is hot.
The wise person will know which opinions are best honored and which ones can be ignored or disagreed with.
This isn’t just to promote disagreements for the sake of disagreeing with someone’s opinion, but it’s a call to action to be true to who you are and what you believe in, without having to trample on someone else to do so.
‘9) Closure Isn’t Always Given, But Made
One of the wisest things I’ve ever learned from people with more life experience is that there will be times when you have to make your own ending.
We’ve all had that experience where things were left unresolved and or the right words were never said, and while it’s great to get a resolution, you’re never guaranteed any.
Even if you’re absolutely owed something to help you turn the page over that event in your life, the fact is that there are times that you’ll never get it.
And those are the times when you need to take the initiative yourself and close that particular chapter in your life.
I’ve applied this lesson to so many things that I have regrets about – and while they didn’t always make those regrets go away, they have made me more comfortable with them existing.
Life doesn’t always give you a neat way to wrap things up, so learning how to do it yourself can help a long way.
10) Experiences Are More Important Than Material Possessions
Others are usually quick to shop for the latest products on the market: whether it be the newest shoes or the fastest phones.
For you, however, one person’s treasure is another person’s junk.
Buying products gives us a shot of gratification — but one that doesn’t last.
After a few days, we’ll get back on social media to find the next thing that we want to buy.
Instead of being so focused on the material objects, you’d rather form lasting connections and do work that’s meaningful to you.
You can get by with everything that you already have.
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