This textbook has thus far explored the nature of wisdom and how you can enhance this capacity in yourself. At the end of the day, however, wisdom is action-oriented. Therein lies one of the biggest hurdles to our ability to act wisely.
Acting requires not only the willingness to take the time and effort to do something but bravery as well. Taking action is hard and risky. The following chapter discusses this final hurdle.
The challenges of developing wisdom
- Wisdom is context-dependent
- Wisdom cannot be objectively measured
- We gain wisdom with experience
A wisdom-oriented mindset
- A critical insight the wise possess is an understanding of the importance of values.
- Those striving for wisdom recognize the power and limits of knowledge.
- Wisdom requires humbleness
- Wisdom requires a willingness to act in the face of uncertainty, which is enhanced through developing an ability to improvise and broaden your base of knowledge outside your specialty.
- Wisdom requires recognition that problems are dynamic, and thus our solutions must evolve in lock-step with our problems.
How to get the best out of your experience
- Experience improves your ability to draw meaning out of your environment and integrate it into your thinking.
- Not all experience is equal; some experiences are beneficial, but some may discourage personal growth.
- As a student, take advantage of opportunities to work with industry partners
- Internships & co-op programs
- Select classes where teachers have you work with industry partners.
- Select classes where teachers rely on experiential learning methods
- As an employee, create opportunities to broaden your responsibilities, especially under your boss’s mentorship, if they are willing.
The importance of good mentors
- A good mentor will help you organize your experiences to pull out relevant learning.
- A good mentor will share their experience with you, helping you to avoid making the same mistakes they made
- What makes a mentor “good?”
- You look up to them as a wise leader.
- You feel comfortable talking to them.
- They have experience in the situations you face
- When approaching a potential mentor
- Ask permission to meet with them.
- Be respectful of their time.
- Come to the meeting prepared
- Maintain your relationship with them
- Pay it forward; sharing your experiences by mentoring others helps them and gives you a deeper understanding of your own experience.
How to maintain an effective reflection journal
- We do not learn from experience but from reflecting on our experience.
- Reflection journals are a tool to facilitate the contemplation of our actions and their outcomes.
- Reflect regularly through the week on your actions and the values, assumptions, and rationale behind your decisions
- Periodically through the year, revisit your reflections to pull out recurring themes in your performance and decision-making.
Ways to develop social and emotional intelligence
- Organizational wisdom is a group activity, and working well with others requires social and emotional intelligence.
- You can develop your social and emotional intelligence through:
- Cooperative learning: Working with groups. Combine this with reflection journaling for enhanced learning
- Interdisciplinary courses: These are courses where teachers from multiple disciplines teach students from multiple disciplines
- Indulging in your appreciation of the arts: All forms of artistic expression increase imagination, empathy, and a sense of connectedness