Thursday, December 30, 2010


As the end of 2010 rolls around taking the time to reflect on the year, your beliefs and values, can perhaps, help the move forward in 2011. It is important that the behaviors we manifest represent the beliefs and values that we have. C4K values wisdom. Wisdom has been defined as the trait of utilizing knowledge and experience with common sense and insight.” This definition provides a recipe for wisdom: knowledge + experience + common sense + insight. To understand the recipe, let’s look at the “ingredients.”

Knowledge and Experience: Although it does not indicate the amount of learning time and experience that must occur for wisdom to be developed, if we believe Malcolm Gladwell, that figure is around 10,000 hours. This is especially interesting when we live in a culture that expects instant gratification and instant almost everything else. Patience is not something that we foster.

Common Sense: It is also my experience that “common sense is not so common.” Although knowledge and common sense are not mutually exclusive, many decisions would appear to deny this. Common sense has to do with judgment that is not based on specialize knowledge, but rather a native or intuitive logic. Thomas Paine, author of Common Sense, used “plain language” to guide American colonists into understanding the logic of no longer accepting the authority of the British Government, thousands of miles away. Common implies that all people can possess this “sense” and when given an opportunity, most can.

Insight: Insight is the “ability to perceive clearly or deeply” not just the outward manifestations of a situation, but the inward or hidden nature of things as well. Sometimes insight is gained over time and other times it appears to be more “instant” especially when it comes to understanding a complex situation or problem or the significance of an event or action. My experience is that even when insight appears to be instant, it is, in reality a result of a thorough 360° investigation and much thought, both intentional and in the back-burner of your brain. To have insight a person must be willing to understand things rather than explain things—which is, indeed, rather rare.

Combining these unique ingredients into wisdom is a journey of learning and self-reflection. There are two interesting quotes that focus on wisdom, one of which is a Zen Proverb and the other by Juvenal. They are:

"Sometimes, simply by sitting, the soul collects wisdom." Zen Proverb

"Never does nature say one thing and wisdom another." Juvenal

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