3 New Ways To Think About Wisdom

3 New Ways To Think About Wisdom

Knowledge may be power, but wisdom is wealth. It’s experiential self-knowledge that accrues for a lifetime like an annuity that keeps paying you. Given the value of wisdom, it’s shocking we have so few ways to define and cultivate it.

Let me offer three alternative ways for you to pursue wisdom.

1. Become a “first-class noticer.”
Wise people aren’t wrapped up in their own head. They recognize there are three ways to listen attentively: to your own conscience, intuition, and feelings; to offer presence to the person sitting next to you, or to notice the energy of the field. Wise people notice what’s inside, who’s in front of them, and the intangible, contagious energy of a group. And the wisest are those who can process all three levels simultaneously.

2. Learn how to “connect the dots.”
Wise people are holistic, multi-disciplinary thinkers. While smart people know a lot about their domain, wise people draw from a wide variety of sources. Figuratively speaking, knowledge is “local,” and wisdom is “global.” Wise people are curious learners who are wary of confirmation bias and prejudgment. Yet, they’re also ruthless distillers of the truth, offering unvarnished insight that allows them to connect the dots in their lives.

3. Live the mantra “I am what survives me.”
While this may sound egocentric, the sentiment is really about shifting from “I am what serves me” to “I am how I serve others.” Wise people are generative stewards to future generations. They see their role as leaving the earth, their community, their family better than when they arrived. Wise people focus on the long-term more than the short game.

How can you cultivate and harvest more wisdom in your life?


First appeared in Chip Conley’s Wisdom Well blog