Age and Wisdom

Often, when I am doing training related to change, I use a values clarification exercise that asks the person to identify their top values from a list of 60 possible values.  The respondent is asked to first identify their top 10, then to pare down to top 5, then 3, and finally identify the most important value.  The listing of values is comprehensive, and the exercise is very hard to do, given all the competing values listed.

One value on the list, and one that was important to me when I first did the exercise, is "wisdom." I have always valued wisdom, and have been drawn to people I consider "wise."   This notion of wisdom has gotten me to think about important value. 

First, what is wisdom?  How does it manifest?  How do you know someone is wise?  And when does wisdom unfold?  How does it accumulate?  Is it just a notion related to experiences, or is there more to it?

Often we associate wisdom with age.  We know that as we get older, we do get wiser based on the experiences we have over time.  Yet, wisdom is more than just the experiences in life, as we all know older people who we consider wise, and others who we would not identify as wise. 

So what is it that makes someone wise. Is it the thoughtful reflection and adjustments made to the experiences we have in life?  Is it the mellowness that follows the aging process - a type of gentleness fused through experiences?

In a way, wisdom is one of those values that we can't fully define - but, we know it when we see it.  So the next time you are with one of those people you consider to be wise, step back and think about what is manifesting with that person.  Try to learn from this and maybe, just maybe, you will find wisdom yourself!