I think I got today’s little saying from the blog Jack’s Winning Words; but, even if I didn’t, it sounds like something that Jack would use.
“Wisdom comes from experience. Experience is often a result of lack of wisdom.”
― Terry Pratchett
That’s so true. We build our wisdom from experiences and from taking the time to understand those experiences. Those who don’t take that second step are doomed to keep repeating the same mistakes over and over, instead of learning from them.
One can’t avoid having experiences; they just happen. As we are growing up and have experiences, especially those in which we make mistakes, we often hear the phrase – “You should have known better.” How helpful is that? Obviously we didn’t know better. A better phrase to offer to someone who has just made a mistake would be “what did you learn from that?”
Do you take some time at the end of the day to reflect on the good the bad and the ugly things of the day? Do you
relish the good things that happened; turning them over in your mind and getting another smile out of them? What do you do with the bad and the ugly? Do you try to understand them and the way you reacted to them and perhaps think about a better way to have reacted, so that you’ll be prepared for those situations better next time? If you do, you are building your wisdom. If not, what do you expect to happen the next time? Will you still be flummoxed by the situation? Will you get angry again or be embarrassed again or just not know how to act – again? Why? Did you learn nothing from the experience?
If you’ve had an experience; turn that first into knowledge by thinking more about it and then into wisdom by figuring out how to use your new knowledge in the future, should that ever happen again. Remember too that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different outcome each time. It’s better to be wise than to be thought to be insane.
Sometimes the things that we learn from involve pain, either real, physical pain or emotional pain, but eventually the wounds that our experiences open will scar over and heal (thus my title for today’s post) and we add what we have learned to our storehouse of wisdom. A surprising amount of our wisdom comes from what we learned out of our failures or the mistakes that we make in life; however, it is also important to add the things that we learn from successes, especially successes in relationships. What makes that significant other person in your life happy? What things that you do make them smile or laugh or give you a hug. If you know that, why wouldn’t you do those things more often?
I’m sure that many of us have some level of wisdom about what happens when we forget a birthday or anniversary or other important occasion for the one with whom we share life’s journey. Hopefully we also have good knowledge about what we should do on those occasions. We also have some level of recognition of our personal shortcomings, especially in terms of remembering things and occasions. So, in our new-found wisdom, we should take steps to make sure that no special occasion goes un-noticed and unrecognized. Write them down, put them in your calendar, and don’t forget again this year. None of us needs a new layer of wisdom scar tissue on those old wounds.
Learn from life and be wise my friends.