Why Wisdom Is The Principal Thing In Life

Updated February 05, 2021

Medically Reviewed By: Avia James

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Wisdom has played an important part in human evolution. Our ancestors spent years adapting to their ever-changing environment. They experienced hardships and learned to survive. Their knowledge and experiences were passed down to their descendants to give them a greater advantage and increased likelihood of survival. Without wisdom acquired and passed down over the years and centuries, it is likely that most of us would not be able to survive today, making wisdom the principal thing in life.

What Is Wisdom?

To understand why wisdom is the principal thing in life, we must first understand what wisdom is. Wisdom is one's knowledge of what is true and real, one’s good judgment, and the ability to learn from one’s experiences and mistakes.

There are several questions we can ask ourselves to determine our level of wisdom: Am I able to adapt to the major changes that occur in my life? Am I open to new ideas, suggestions, and even criticisms? Am I able to solve my everyday problems employing the scientific method? Am I able to accept the things that I cannot change and willing to change the things that I can? Am I able to learn from my experiences and mistakes? Am I able to freely offer the wisdom I have gained through my experiences to others? Answering these questions can help us understand what wisdom is and why it is important to our everyday lives.

The Main Components Of Wisdom

Throughout humanity’s history, civilization has always had those who were sought for their wisdom. Those individuals were responsible for passing on wisdom through the generations. They often emphasized the following rules:

  • Change is inevitable. Learn to adapt.
  • Spend more time listening than speaking. You won't learn anything hearing yourself speak.
  • If you have an issue, admit and get help as soon as you can.
  • Use the scientific method:
    • Continue to ask questions
    • Withhold judgment until you have enough proof
    • Freely offer the knowledge you have gained to others
    • Be open-minded
    • Learn from your mistakes
  • Learn to change the things that can be changed and accept the things that can't.

Let's break down the components of wisdom for a better understanding of why wisdom is the principal thing in life.

Adaptability

Adapting to change is one of the most important tools we have for survival. Our ancestors spent years learning to adapt to changing environments, as well as learning how to change their emotional and mental states appropriately in response. Without the ability to adapt, it is likely that we would have ever survived this long. It is not only important to adapt to physical and environmental changes, but mental and emotional changes as well.

Perhaps one of the biggest changes to our emotional and mental states involve relationships. Many people have trouble adapting to these changes. It often takes time for us to process and move on from changes in our relationships. For many, help is needed to move on. Often, family and friends can offer the right support and help, but more professional help may be needed.

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Learning From Other's Experiences

Advice and knowledge can often be found in the experiences of others if we listen. Asking others to share their stories and opinions can gain us insights into life lessons, as well as knowledge that we can apply to our own lives. At the same time, by asking others to share their stories with you, you can help them, too, as they may arrive at new insights they hadn’t thought of prior to reflecting on them with you.

Being Open-Minded

It is important to be open to new suggestions, ideas, and even criticisms of current ways. Allowing others to offer these things can teach us new ways of looking at our world and solving problems. This also teaches us tolerance for other's beliefs, opinions, ideas, and ways of life. Allowing others to offer you their wisdom is important and can help you gain more wisdom. Don't just assume that your knowledge and experiences are the only solution or idea of importance.

Being Able To Employ The Scientific Method For Everyday Problem-Solving

This may seem like overthinking, but many people do this every day without even realizing it. Using the below scientific method to solve everyday problems can help facilitate learning from experiences. The seven steps to solving everyday problems include:

  • Define the problem, such as overcoming a job loss.
  • Set a realistic goal, such as a time frame to be re-employed by.
  • Come up with multiple solutions, such as continue to actively seek employment, move to a new place, or collect unemployment funds until re-employed.
  • Compare and evaluate each solution.
  • Select the solution you think is most likely to produce desired results.
  • Put the solution into practice.
  • Evaluate the outcome of the chosen solution and try a new one if the first one didn't yield successful results.

Using the above scientific method to solve problems can help in gaining wisdom.

Learn To Accept Things That Can't Be Changed And Change The Things That Can

Learning to accept situations that cannot be changed is one of the hardest parts of gaining wisdom. It is important for one's mental health to be able to accept the things we can't change. Worrying about things that cannot be controlled can adversely affect overall wellbeing. Help is available for those who struggle with this. Instead of focusing on things that can't be controlled it is better to focus on the situations that can be changed. Implementing these changes will help a person feel like they are back in control of their lives and help them to move on, and in turn gain wisdom from experience, acceptance, and adaptability.

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Learn From Your Mistakes And Experiences

People tend to complain and feel sorry for themselves when things don't go their way. Instead of doing this, examine why things didn't turn out the way you wanted them to and fix them, if you can. Solving your problems and reflecting on them later will help you become stronger and gain wisdom for future trials that may come your way. Taking time to reflect on your experiences every day will help you to learn from them and not make the same mistakes. Another way to gain wisdom is to ask a person you trust to tell you about your flaws, and then work on those that you can change. Help is available for people who have trouble reflecting on and learning from their experiences and mistakes, whether from family and friends or a more professional source.

Remembering That Failure Eventually Leads To Success

The try and try again mentality plays out when gaining wisdom. Failure is a learning experience. Each time that you try and fail, you learn what doesn't work. Eventually, you will learn what it takes to succeed. Obstacles in life serve a purpose, as they teach you how to solve problems until you figure out a solution. Wisdom gained through failure is a prerequisite for success.

Successful people have a list of qualities that help to make them successful. These qualities include:

  • Being thankful
  • Forgiving others for their mistakes
  • Giving others credit for their gains
  • Taking responsibility for their mistakes
  • Offering advice without being critical
  • Setting goals and develop a plan for obtaining them
  • Constantly learning
  • Adapting and embracing change
  • Working from a transformational perspective

Oftentimes, these qualities have been gained through failure, which ultimately resulted in their success.

Freely Offering Others Wisdom Obtained

It is important to offer others the wisdom you have obtained when they ask for it. However, the exchange of information should not be you just telling them how it is, but rather allowing them to participate in the learning process. Ask them questions, let them ask questions, and let them guide the wisdom you share.

Why Is Wisdom The Principal Thing In Life?

Now that we have defined wisdom and its components, it is rather easier to see why wisdom is the principal thing in life. Everything that wisdom encompasses is about learning to live life in a way that allows you to succeed and have a good life. Most of us want to live an enjoyable and successful life. The only true way to accomplish and maintain it long-term this is through gaining and utilizing wisdom. Wisdom can improve your life in all aspects: physical, emotional, mental, and financial. Learning from your experiences and the experiences of others and sharing that wisdom are vital to your survival and the survival of those you share your wisdom with.

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How BetterHelp Can Help

For many people, gaining wisdom requires help from family and friends. However, sometimes more professional help is needed. Professional help can be found at BetterHelp. Professionals can help people learn to adapt to mental and emotional changes, as well as offer insight into personal experiences that people may have missed when reflecting on them.

Overall, online therapy has been found to be just as effective as in-person therapy, with some studies finding it to actually be more beneficial in the medium and long-term for some individuals and conditions. At three months post-treatment, 57% online therapy users no longer experienced symptoms of depression, compared to just 42% of in-person therapy users.

Additionally, BetterHelp is incredibly convenient and affordable. The ability to hold sessions anytime, anywhere (you’ll just need an internet or data connection to get started) means that even those with busy schedules or in rural areas can get the help that they deserve and need. And since you don’t have to commute or secure transportation to and from sessions, and our therapists don’t have to pay to rent out office space, BetterHelp is often cheaper than traditional therapy options. Continue reading below to find reviews of some of our licensed therapists, from people seeking help in finding new perspectives and wisdom.

Reviews

“Julie is excellent! So experienced, so knowledgeable, and so kind. She is very understanding and is such a good listener, she makes it clear she sincerely cares about my progress. She is easy to trust and open up to, and I feel lucky to have her wisdom and insight right now. 11 of 10 recommend!!!”

“Something clicked today in my conversation with Dana when thinking all the tools and exercises that we've been discussing together over the last few months. I had an 'aha' moment today realizing that changing my perspective, it's not work or effort but simply, yes simply, slowing down to be more in tune to myself and enjoying it. Before talking with Dana, everything just felt like so much work and her insights and gentle wisdom and guidance have brought me to such a greater understanding of myself. Thanks Dana!”


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