How often do you receive really dumb communications? Like truly fake news? Incorrect info? Hurtful comments? Simply stupid statements?
For many of us, it’s way too often.
This is why wisdom matters.
When it comes to communicating effectively, wise people do it best.
Listening to people who are the opposite of wise inflames the anger and misunderstanding many of us experience today.
“Wisdom is oriented toward social harmony and the good of the people around us, not just toward ourselves,” says Jonathan Rauch, exploring the qualities of wisdom in the recent Globe & Mail article, Why Wisdom Might be Ripe for Rediscovery. “The benefits of having wise people and behaviour in our midst spill over to make life better for the rest of us.”
So how do we find wisdom?
Along with “the ability to use knowledge and experience to make good decisions and judgments” (Cambridge Dictionary), wisdom has a number of specific qualities. By seeking out people with these characteristics, and paying attention to what they communicate, all of us can benefit.
Rauch and psychology professor Laura Carstensen mention some of the traits that are integral to wisdom.
- Use pragmatic knowledge of life to resolve personal and social problems
- Try to understand situations from multiple perspectives and are tolerant
- Able to cope with ambiguity and uncertainty
- The ability to regulate emotions
- A capacity for reflection and dispassionate self-understanding
What’s perhaps most valuable about wisdom for all of us is that wise people also possess compassion and concern for the common good. And they demonstrate generativity – a need to contribute to society and to do things that benefit future generations.
Advice and guidance from wise people encourages us to do what’s right.
So let’s seek out wisdom. Let’s encourage and support, listen and learn from, wise people – those individuals who communicate accurately, sensitively, compassionately and helpfully.