is the definitive resource for wisdom-related materials. Refer to their
extensive collection of materials for in-depth study. Wisdom is a broad
topic that is only introduced here.
Follow the wise path to
progress toward wisdom and prepare yourself to attain and apply the skills
The Nature of Wisdom
Nicholas Maxwell defines wisdom as “the capacity, the
desire, and the active endeavor to realize what is of value in life, for
oneself and others.”
Wisdom is action directed by the highest levels of
reflective, and affective skills, described in
more detail below.
Cognitive skills describe an understanding of life and a desire to
know the truth, i.e., to comprehend the significance and deeper meaning
of phenomena and events, particularly with regard to intrapersonal and
This includes knowledge and acceptance of the positive and negative
human nature, of the inherent limits of knowledge, and of
life's unpredictability and uncertainties.
Cognitive skills include: 1) the ability and willingness to
understand a situation or phenomenon thoroughly; 2) knowledge of the
positive and negative aspects of
human nature; 3) acknowledgment of
ambiguity and uncertainty in life; and 4) the ability to make important
decisions despite life's unpredictability and uncertainties.
People with excellent cognitive skills are:
- Observant—alert, attentive, careful, and quick to notice even
subtle phenomenon. Observation includes acute, accurate, and
discerning use of each of the senses: seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, and
- Pragmatic—practical; taking into consideration how a task can
realistically be completed.
- Intelligent—quick to comprehend, able to solve problems, using
sound thought and good judgment.
- Discerning—able to recognize even subtle differences as
distinct and often important. Also able to recognize important
similarities beyond apparent differences.
- Reality-focused—striving to learn what is despite
noise and clutter obscuring
or distorting the
- Truth-seeking—striving to identify the facts despite
misleading data, or
Reflective skills describe perception of phenomena and events from
multiple perspectives. This requires self-examination, self-awareness,
Reflective skills include: 1) the ability and willingness to look at
phenomena and events from different perspectives; and 2) the absence of
subjectivity and projections (i.e., the tendency to
blame other people
or circumstances for one's own situation or feelings).
People with excellent reflective skills are:
- Intuitive—knowing without relying on conscious reasoning.
- Introspective—examining your own inner feelings,
- Insightful—comprehending a deeper truth or understanding.
- Creative—originating unique thoughts, plans, outcomes,
solutions, or objects.
- Self-investigative—examining and reflecting on your own
- Self-aware—knowing your own status, condition, and
- Accepting—welcoming someone or something that is new or unusual,
tolerant; open to new experiences
Affective skills describe sympathetic and compassionate love for
Affective skills include: 1) the presence of positive emotions and
behavior toward others; and 2) the absence of indifferent or negative
emotions and behavior toward others.
People with excellent affective skills are:
- Understanding—inclined to comprehend and appreciate another's
point of view.
- Peaceful—serene, at ease, calm, composed,
content, pacific, non-violent.
a deep appreciation for another's situation or point of view.
- Gentle—kindly, mild, docile, temperate.
that good things are happening.
Humble—modest, aware of your limitations, not arrogant.
- Enthusiastic—involved, passionate, committed, eager, positively
- Selfless—unconcerned with promoting self interests; unselfish,
- Confident—assured, certain of your abilities.
- Lighthearted—cheerful, merry, fun loving, playful,
having a good sense of humor, witty.
that this can all turn out for the best.
- Caring—concerned, giving serious attention,
But wisdom remains invisible until action, based on the careful
considerations described above, gives it impact.
People who take wise action are:
- Committed—fully engaged; dedicated to a particular goal.
- Self-disciplined—regulated, orderly, restrained, conscientious,
or purposeful behavior
- Patient—tolerant of delay, annoyance, tedium, or other hardship
- Passionate—having strong emotions and intensity toward an
Optimistic—anticipating a good outcome despite an uncertain future
- Purposeful—resolute, focused, and determined to achieve a
- Generous—freely giving or sharing
- Industrious—hard working, diligent, energetic, and effective
- Diligent—persistent, attentive, conscientious, and consistent in
pursuing a goal
- Cooperative—working with others harmoniously toward a common goal
- Dedicated—fully committed to achieving a particular goal or
Responsible—Acknowledging and accepting the choices you have
made, the actions you have taken, and the results they have led to.
Acknowledging your role in life.
- Energetic—having a bias toward action combined with the fitness,
strength, endurance, and the ability to act.
- “Believe those who are seeking the truth; doubt those who find
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