How to become wise

By M.Farouk Radwan, MSc.


Wisdom is not related to age nor it has anything to do with it. You could meet a 60 years old man who misguides you and you could meet someone who is much younger than you who helps you out.

Without wisdom our actions would be based on our desires, we would follow our instincts without thinking of the consequences or the harm we might cause to ourselves and others. A word from a wise man might be more beneficial than years of life experience and a word from an unwise man might let us take decisions that we regret later on. If there is anything that we really need in order to live a better and a happier life then it is wisdom.

How to become wise

Don’t take hasty decisions : One of the most important pillars of wisdom is not taking hasty decisions. For example if you have to reply to a job offer sent to you by a company within three days then you should only do it in the third day even if you already know what you want. If you want to send a very important email to someone that might impact your life then write the mail but don’t send it. Few minutes later you will find new ideas coming to your mind that can help you in sending a better mail. So to summarize this point, you should not take actions as long as you still have time even if you know what you are going to do. (see also Inability to take a decision)

Don’t act before you complete the missing information : I am sure you have already faced the situation where you told one of your friends about a problem and then he gave you a solution right away before getting a full understanding of the picture.

Phrases like "she’s mad, you got to break up with her" or "a person who acts this way is selfish" are very common quick solutions we get from unwise friends and relatives. Before you give any of your friends advice or before you take any action make sure that you can see the full picture first.

Understand the underlying reasons : A person who shouts at everyone might be having a life problem that he can’t deal with, a person who is sarcastic may be angry because of his unmet goals and a person who hates you might just be afraid of you.

In order to be wise you must have enough knowledge that enables you to see what’s behind the scenes and the root causes for people’s behavior. Collecting this kind of knowledge would result in taking different actions than the ones you would have taken otherwise.

Read and apply : Read a lot without practicing and you will become a bookworm, take actions without reading and you will become an ignorant person or read a lot and apply what you have learned and you will become a wise person. Wisdom is composed of knowledge and life experience, both factors are needed together in order for you to become wise. If you want to become wise then the most important advice I have for you are read and apply what you learn.

Observe : You don’t have to trip into a hole in the ground in order to know that its dangerous because you can figure out the same information by watching someone else falling into it. If life experience can help you become wise then learning from the experiences of others can make you even wiser.

Don't follow the herd: Most of the people that you are going meet won't be wise, will act based on their emotions and without having full information. If you want to be wise then know that in most cases you should be doing what others are not doing. Following the herd will never make you wise.

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