What is wisdom? Wisdom often refers to words of knowledge. People who know a lot are considered to be “wise.” If you think that somebody is wise, it is likely because he or she has taught you something.
Wisdom can be learned with support
Explore More on Wisdom
Medically reviewed by Paige Henry, LMSW, J.D.
You may never be too old to have new experiences, acquire knowledge, and develop good judgment. Gaining wisdom can be a life-long process with the opportunity to continue growing each day. While some may say that only older adults can be wise, a person of any age can acquire wisdom and understanding regarding the world we live in. While wisdom and knowledge can be distinct from each other, an important aspect of being wise may be opening yourself up to learning from life experiences and practicing good judgment from what you have learned. To further explore the role of wisdom in your life, consider scheduling a session with an in-person or online therapist.
Traditionally, one may think that wisdom is the same as knowledge gained through education. The concept of wisdom, however, tends to be more complex than simply being able to recite poetry or solve math problems. Alternatively, wisdom can be a subjective experience that usually involves seeking new experiences, developing self-awareness, and practicing appropriate judgment.
There can be several ways to define wisdom, and philosophers have discussed its meaning for millennia. Consider the following quotes from wise philosophers of the distant past:
- “Wisdom alone is the science of other sciences.” –Plato (427–347 BC)
- “Let no one be slow to seek wisdom when he is young nor weary in the search of it when he has grown old. For no age is too early or too late for the health of the soul.” –Epicurus (341–270 BC)
Recently, researchers have proposed that wisdom may be “a complex human trait with several specific components: social decision-making, emotional regulation, prosocial behaviors, self-reflection, acceptance of uncertainty, decisiveness, and spirituality.”
A simpler definition proposed by the Oxford English Dictionary may be the “capacity of judging rightly in matters relating to life and conduct.” Thus, wisdom can be thought of as the innate capacity of a person to learn from new experiences, practice proper and just behaviors, and make decisions that lead to health.
How Do You Gain Wisdom?
When considering the components that make up wisdom, one can understand why gaining it is often a lifelong process. Accordingly, there is generally no standard or quick way for a person to develop wisdom. Nonetheless, there may be a few principles that seekers of this characteristic may consider incorporating into their lives. These may include seeking out new experiences, practicing non-judgmental self-reflection instead of ruminating on mistakes, and learning from the wisdom of others.
One piece of wisdom that you may already know is who you are. You likely know your name and where you were raised, but we tend to continually learn about ourselves. Knowing and understanding yourself can expand far beyond the details of where you came from; it can refer to gaining emotional insight.
A therapeutic setting can be a great place to continue to look inward and learn more about yourself. One of the reasons that people seek therapy is often to gain knowledge about themselves and develop self-awareness. Therapy can help you gain wisdom because it typically empowers you to gain insight into your identity, your life, other people, and the world around you.
Benefits Of Online Therapy
An excellent place to learn about yourself and your emotions can be an online therapy platform. Online therapy generally makes it simple to schedule and attend sessions from the location of your choice at a time that fits into your existing schedule. You can further personalize the therapy experience by choosing between video conferences, phone calls, and online chat for your appointments.
Effectiveness Of Online Therapy
Studies have shown online therapy to be a highly effective tool for people wanting to self-motivate and develop wisdom-building skills. For example, a recent study examined the effects of online motivational therapy and cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) in people managing negative thinking patterns and low motivation. Study participants generally reported positive outcomes, stating they developed strategies to replace negative thinking patterns with affirmative thoughts and actions.
Wisdom can help you in all aspects of life, including work, school, social situations, and more. If you understand how you relate to others and how your own emotions manifest, you may be in a better place to navigate the world and find success. To further develop wisdom of yourself and the world around you, online or in-person therapy may be helpful.