Got Wisdom?

Wisdom has often lingered on the periphery of my thoughts, occasionally surfacing through the verses of Proverbs we learnt as children.  My comfort zone rests in the realm of knowledge acquisition, a realm where I derive immense pleasure, driven by the strengths of Input and Learner (Gallup CliftonStrengths) that reside within me. However, when pondering what I aspire to for both myself and my clients, it transcends mere knowledge. Our minds can be likened to grand libraries, brimming with invaluable treasures. But what worth do these treasures hold in the dark and dusty recesses of our minds? They yearn to be unearthed, contemplated, challenged, and, above all, applied when deemed worthy. Within this application lies the essence of wisdom.

I extend you an invitation to embark on a profound exploration of wisdom with me. Let’s delve into it with unwavering commitment. Wisdom, a quality nearly universally esteemed, demands our attention. However, it is crucial to listen to the diverse voices defining wisdom and delineating the paths to its attainment. Must we traverse the expanse of time and gray hairs before claiming wisdom, or can it also be found in the hearts of the young? Are there distinct manifestations of wisdom? Do myriad avenues lead to its acquisition? I hope our journey challenges the boundaries of our comprehension on this subject.

Let us commence this expedition by contemplating some widely accepted definitions. Wisdom is an intrinsic facet of every culture.

Wisdom (English) – The ability to make sound judgments in matters of life and conduct, exhibiting discernment in the choice of means and ends; occasionally, more broadly, practical wisdom, especially in matters of practical affairs, contrasting with folly. (Oxford English Dictionary)

Prajña (Sanskrit: प्रज्ञ) – Used to denote the highest and purest form of wisdom, intelligence, and understanding, this term resonates across Buddhism, Pali, Hinduism, Sanskrit, Jainism, Prakrit, Marathi, and Hindi. (source: wisdomlib.org)

Σοφία (Ion. Greek) – The art of excelling in everyday life, marked by astute judgment, intelligence, practical sagacity, and more, attributes attributed to the Seven Sages. (Henry George Liddell. Robert Scott. A Greek-English Lexicon. revised and augmented throughout by. Sir Henry Stuart Jones. with the assistance of. Roderick McKenzie. Oxford. Clarendon Press. 1940.)

חָכְמָה Chokmah (Hebrew) – Skill in warfare, technical expertise, administrative acumen, cleverness, shrewdness, and prudence in religious matters, representing ethical and religious wisdom, ascribed both to God as a divine attribute and to humanity. (Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon, Unabridged, Electronic Database. Copyright © 2002, 2003, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc.)

Poto (Tongan) – To be resourceful, skillful; the ability to comprehend what needs to be done and the capability to execute it. (Churchward, 1959)

智慧 zhì huì (Mandarin) – Wisdom, knowledge, intelligent insight.

Busara (Swahili) – A discernment open to diverse ideas, acknowledging the equality of all people. Busara matures through life experiences, encompassing the responsibility of offering counsel. It serves as the guardian of desires and temptations associated with free will, whose heedless pursuit results in the forfeiture of utu (humanity). (David Leslie. 2010. Hekima and Busara – are they different concepts and how do they relate to utu? Swahili Forum 17: 24-33)

Sabiduría (Spanish) – The capacity to apply one’s knowledge and experience to make sound decisions and judgments. (The Cambridge English–Spanish Dictionary. © Cambridge University Press)

Förnuft (Swedish) – Sound judgment; the application of reason, particularly in philosophical discourse (Interglot Translation Dictionary).

As we explore wisdom across languages, common threads emerge—correct judgment, understanding, receptivity to new ideas, and the aptitude to act appropriately. All these qualities are vital for a life lived in harmony with one’s strengths. If you’re eager to embark on a journey to deepen your wisdom and incorporate it into your life and would like a little navigation assistance, reach out through the contact form on my website.

About the Wayfinders' Blog

The Wayfinders’ Blog helps individuals, teams and organisations discover and develop their unique strengths. I provide valuable insights and practical tips to my audience empowering them to develop their talents into strengths and achieve their goals.

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