When people think of wisdom the immediately think of it as someone who has scholarly knowledge or received a lot of learning, but it could also be defined as having the knowledge of what is true or right. When asked what is wisdom the common answer is the gift of knowing everything but it is more of a person possessing an open mind to further increase their knowledge. People gain most of their wisdom not from a classroom but from their life experiences as a book can only teach us so much.
There are six attributes that are characteristics of a wise person they are as follows; reasoning ability, sagacity, learning from ideas and the environment, judgment, expeditious use of information. Reasoning ability is the ability to look at a problem and to be able to solve the problem through good logical reasoning and applying knowledge to particular problem. Sagacity is an understanding of human nature, thoughtfulness, fairness good listening ability, and placing value on the advice and knowledge of others.
Learning from ideas and the environment is being perceptive and learning from the mistakes of others. Judgment means the person has good sensible judgment and thinks in long-term rather in short-term results before acting and speaking. Expeditious use of information is when the person learns from an experience whether it is a mistake or a success. Perspicacity is a person’s perceptiveness, intuition, and the ability to read between the lines.
Choosing a person that possesses wisdom could be harder than what you think, however one iconic figure did come to mind and that would be Helen Keller. When Helen Keller was only eighteen months old she contacted an illness that resulted in a very high fever that the doctor termed “brain fever” as a result of the this illness in Keller loosing bother her sight and her hearing. Helen Keller was really unable to communicate with others until the age of six when she was introduced to Ann Sullivan. Ann Sullivan finally broke through and was able to unlock many doors for Helen Keller when she taught her “water”. Sullivan did this by running water over Helen Keller’s hands and spelling the word on her palm and the rest as they say is history.
Helen Keller had many of the characteristics that identify a person as wise. Her reasoning ability helped her to not be held back by her disabilities but to overcome them and learn from them so that she could teach others. She was able to learn from her environment and was very perceptive. She possessed good judgment and did not let her disabilities limit her in life thinking of the long-term instead of concentrating on the short term. Expeditious use of information was proved when she learned her first word “water” and from that point realized that objects had names. Helen Keller showed that she was perceptive and was able to discern the truth and what the right thing to do was.
Unlike Helen Keller I do not feel that I fall into all of the characteristics that a “wise” person should, the characteristic that I feel that I most identify with is Sagacity. Sagacity is a keen understanding of human nature, thoughtfulness, fairness, and good listening skills. I do not think however that I completely understand human behavior because sometimes there is no rhyme or reason to the actions of people. It is important however to be thoughtful and fair when dealing with all people and to not jump to conclusions and being able to listen to others thoughts and feelings.
There are some characteristics that I feel that I need to work on, on my way to becoming a wise person. However the characteristic that needs the most work is judgment. Not whether a choice is good or bad but the effect the choice will have in the long run instead of how it is affecting me in the short run which I think a lot of people struggle with. Like anything it is a work in progress and you live and you learn.
So now as you see there is more to wisdom then just how much you know or what type of degree you hold. It’s more about what you learn and take from the classroom of life and what you do with those teachings. Any mistakes or successes that a person has experienced has made them not only into the person they are today but made them wiser and stronger.
Baumgardner, S. R., & Crothers, M. K. (2009). Positive Psychology. Prentice Hall. “Keller, Helen” UXL Encylopedia of World Bigraphy.2003.Retrieved February 02, 2013 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-3437500444.html