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WISDOM WITHIN - March 2016 - Kansas City
How to Become More Wise
By Suzette Scholtes
One of the keys to our successful 2017 is becoming wise. When my niece, Crystal, returned last year from a year of teaching in Vietnam, we sat for lunch. She was discerning, discreet, focused, and indeed I noticed she had evolved into the wisdom of her heart and soul.
“I’ve also learned to put up boundaries,” she shared. “I have a solid plan for this year.” At age 30, she is focused on creating a wonderful life.
Who are the wisest people you know? Chances are they have at least a few things in common; they’re experienced, kind, and of a certain age. Wisdom, the thinking generally goes, is hard-earned by putting in your time and piecing together scraps of knowledge along the way.
But maybe a younger person also sprang to mind—someone who, despite his or her relative youth, you regard as genuinely wise. Professor Monika Ardelt defines wisdom as a combination of cognitive, reflective, and compassionate qualities which are not the sole purview of the elderly. Wisdom, explains Ardelt, may be cultivated and it shares big pay-offs. Her research has shown wise men and women enjoy improved well-being as they age, because they’re better able to deal with challenges, such as declining health and the loss of loved ones.
So what are the secrets of those people who are wise beyond their years?
Wise people have a lot of experiences. Crystal traveled all over Europe and other countries while in Vietnam. With her love of travel, she has now visited 22 countries. Wherever she goes, she builds friendships. They come to see her from around the world.
You learn from them. They learn lessons wherever they are, whether it’s the town where you’ve lived your entire life, or some far-flung location.
Wise people see what’s right in front of them. We all know we’re going to die, for example. Wise people have a better understanding of the meaning of that, placing an emphasis on relationships, spirituality, and personal growth.
They meditate. In order to achieve that kind of direct, I-see-who-I-am, who-you-are, and-the-circumstances-right-in-front-of-us kind of knowledge, reflection is paramount. Meditation—a kind of self-examination—has long been believed to be a pathway to wisdom. We learn to avoid reacting to negativity and accept situations to rise above them.
Wise people grow from crises. Crystal’s father has been ill for a number of years and she accepts this with grace and dignity. It has been proven those who have survived something devastating emerge changed for the better. Or little crisis like a fender-bender are dealt with and one moves on.
They have a strong support network. We need our friends and family and trusted colleagues to share with and talk it through. It is important to avoid feeling alone or isolated.
They’re tolerant. They hold compassion for self and others. They have strong insights into people but do not use the knowledge for self-centered means.
Crystal shared one of her key components for navigating life—acceptance. “Let go, let go,” she advises. “I try to accept. Pay attention to what you hold on to. If it is negative, let it go!”
Suzette Scholtes’ non-fiction writing won the prestigious “Writers Digest” award. Her passions are writing and yoga and she feels one needs a sense of humor for both. She founded The Yoga School of Therapeutics where she manages one of the regions prestige teacher training programs. 10400 W. 103rd Street,
Image Licensed by Ingram Images.