This is my favourite definition of wisdom:
“good sense; the ability to make sensible decisions and judgments based on personal knowledge and experience"
Note that good sense requires personal knowledge and experience in order to be effective. Wisdom cannot grow and flourish in isolation. When one operates with poor or potentially harmful personal knowledge or under the influence of a wealth of negative or destructive prior experience, the concept of good sense generally goes right out the window.
This explains why the great leaders of the world and those we hold in high regard are almost always people who have lived positive, ethical lives. We admire them because they bask in positive light. Conversely, imagine how damaging it is for the careers of celebrities, politicians and business leaders who disregard the good wisdom they have learned over a lifetime, while performing in negative or unethical ways. They seemed not to understand that not only must wisdom be learned over time...it must be utilized for a lifetime!
We have all borne witness to the widely publicized indiscretions of a beloved golfer, a famous actor and a respected Governor that have graced the covers of tabloids and news media over the past few months.
Had the golfer, the actor or the Governor utilized the good sense and accumulated wisdom that they had at their disposal, they would not be in the respective predicaments they find themselves in now.
The three I mention are not the only people who have committed indiscretions or done something horrifically wrong that they lived to regret later. The world is full of people who from time to time, refuse to listen to the good sense that most human beings have in their minds and hearts and instead listen to the dark side of their souls where evil lurks and common sense is unwelcome. In fact, all human beings are prone to having occasional wisdom-defying thoughts. We all think negative things about other people and we all consider doing or saying inappropriate things from time to time.
None of us is free from an occasional bout of overt imprudence or internalized unkindness.
Right now, as you read this, there is someone in your life that you hold in high regard; someone you admire; someone you envy, and someone you love. Each one of those people could become someone who disappoints you, someone who disgusts you, or someone you are embarrassed by in the blink of an eye. The second they drop their guard, forget about the wisdom they know they should uphold, and perform an indiscretion, you will have the culturally acceptable right to turn your back on them. Because they have not used their common sense or acted sensibly you will probably feel the need to shun them and of course if the indiscretion is sensational enough, the media will have a salacious field day with their lives despite all the good they might have done prior to defying wisdom.
Who needs wisdom? We all do!
We all need to think about what is right and what is wrong as we make our way through life. When we decide to push our values or the values of society out of our lives, we open ourselves up to rejection, ridicule, desperation and despair.
No matter what your position in life, how you present yourself to the world and how others see you will have a deeply profound influence on the quality of your life. Think about this each time one of those very human, wisdom-defying thoughts enters your mind. Think about the other people in your lives and think about yourself...think about how much better your life will be if you simply do what you know is right!
Oh, and try to practice forgiveness when someone in your life defies his or her own wisdom. Accept that they are human and they are part of the majority of people on earth who make mistakes from time to time. Don’t dwell on the indiscretion and don’t drag out rejection and ridicule for long periods of time. Those folks feel bad enough already and they don’t need your criticism to add insult to their injury and embarrassment.
As the old adage goes: To err is human-To forgive divine!
I wish everyone a life of wisdom and good sense with only inconsequential indiscretions and a large measure of forgiveness. If you utilize your unique wisdom at all times, you will be assured a life of happiness, respect and love.
All the Best