The Virtue of Wisdom
Wisdom is and has always been a widely treasured virtue. Wisdom is the judicious application of knowledge, experience and understanding gained throughout life.
It isn’t enough to be intelligent or to think critically or even creatively – it’s how you use the knowledge you have for the betterment of self, others and the world.
Regardless of academic education or even age, people are wise if they use the knowledge they have at appropriate times, using proper judgment and discernment with good intentions.
If you’ve just stumbled across this page and haven’t yet read the Intro/Overview for this series, please click here. The purpose of this series is to help people connect with their strengths (through videos found online) and get inspired to use them for their own fulfillment and happiness.
Consider the Character Strengths below that relate to Wisdom and how using one of them alone or in combination with strengths from other virtues (courage, humanity, justice, temperance, transcendence) towards a goal could make you feel. It’s been proven that using our strengths in meaningful pursuits engages people (creates that feeling of flow and brings people into the “Zone”) and creates long-lasting fulfillment. So, it’s up to us to discover our strengths and continuously find new ways of using them.
- Creativity [originality, ingenuity]: Thinking of novel and productive ways to conceptualize and do things; includes artistic achievement but is not limited to it
- Curiosity [interest, novelty-seeking, openness to experience]: Taking an interest in ongoing experience for its own sake; finding subjects and topics fascinating; exploring and discovering
- Judgment [critical thinking]: Thinking things through and examining them from all sides; not jumping to conclusions; being able to change one’s mind in light of evidence; weighing all evidence fairly
- Love of Learning: Mastering new skills, topics, and bodies of knowledge, whether on one’s own or formally; obviously related to the strength of curiosity but goes beyond it to describe the tendency to add systematically to what one knows
- Perspective [wisdom]: Being able to provide wise counsel to others; having ways of looking at the world that make sense to oneself and to other people
More About Wisdom Strengths
Do you love to learn? Do you tend to learn from books? School? Movies? Life experiences? Mentors? Conversations?
Are you a curious person? Do you often ask questions to probe deeper and understand people or how things work? Are you always in wonder and enjoy seeking the answers?
Do your friends come to you for advice/counsel? Do you love helping them?
Do you love figuring things out? Do you love solving problems in new and ingenious ways? Even just tweaking something you have into something better?
These are character strengths relating to Wisdom and Knowledge – how we love to use our minds. If you answered no to the questions above, it doesn’t mean that you’re not wise or intelligent but that using these strengths doesn’t engage your essence and bring you pleasure or fulfillment. It’s hard work and you’d rather be doing something else. No problem at all.
If you are a creative person let’s say (not just an artist) – someone who thinks outside the box and connects data/info/knowledge from a variety of sources to develop helpful solutions, and you work on an assembly line doing one task all day long, you’ll probably get bored stiff very quickly and it will feel like hard work. But if you were asked one day to fix something at work and you tried your hardest, engaged yourself and came up with a solution, you would be ecstatic and that would be because you were engaging your Wisdom Strengths (Creativity, Critical Thinking, Curiosity).
If this sounds like you, and the quotes or videos below resonate with you, then Positive Psychologists (and coaches like me) would encourage you to use these strengths more often in your life, in new and engaging ways, so you could feel happier and more fulfilled by adding your special touch to the world.
“Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.” ~ Aristotle
“By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.” ~ Confucius
“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.” ~ George Bernard Shaw
“A little knowledge that acts is worth infinitely more than much knowledge that is idle.” ~ Khalil Gibran
“It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.” ~ Aristotle
“From the errors of others, a wise man corrects his own. ~ Publilius Syrus
“Don’t Gain The World & Lose Your Soul, Wisdom Is Better Than Silver Or Gold.” ~ Bob Marley
“The nonviolent approach does not immediately change the heart of the oppressor. It first does something to the hearts and souls of those committed to it. It gives them new self-respect; it calls up resources of strength and courage they did not know they had.” ~ Martin Luther King Jr.
“When you know better you do better.” ~ Maya Angelou
“Any fool can know. The point is to understand.” ~ Albert Einstein
Wisdom Related Video Clips
There are so many types of wisdom and no way to show them all. That said, here are a variety of video clips that touch on the character strengths relating to the virtue of wisdom. From wise words in movies (thank you Yoda) to the creativity, curiosity and love of learning displayed by a young man who built a windmill out of scrap parts so his family could have light at night and use a radio.
Reel Wisdom – Wisdom Quotes from 40 Movies
Wisdom of the Tao – Wayne Dyer
The Wisdom of Socrates
The Wisdom of John Lennon
How Simple Ideas Lead to Scientific Discoveries – Adam Savage
Problem Solving & Collaborating Chimpanzees (cute)
Multiple Intelligences – Creativity (Ken Robinson)
Building a Windmill