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On being wise (final part)
In my last blog post, I described two ways for acting wisely: to reflect before acting and to examine a situation from various perspectives.
In this final part I will add another two ways in which wise people tend to act.
Get real and pragmatic
The wise are flexible. They are willing to replace one truth with another in order to adapt to a changing reality. The dogmatic person may try to impose on reality certain interpretation in order to fit certain agenda. This way a greater congruence with one’s narrative is gained. The wise consider circumstances of here and now. It is not enough to ask what is right—the ideals—but you have to ask what works—the real. Being wise is about facing reality and coping effectively with problems in life; it is about being grounded. Individuals who stick to the wrong path or governments who stick to wrong policies just because they fit their ideals will ultimately clash with reality. And reality is always right. Wisdom is about being practical and pragmatic while trying to solve life’s problems.
Apply procedures for decision making
This is one of my favourite lessons from reading the book ‘Thinking fast and slow’ which I mentioned in previous blogs.
In the end of his book Kahneman raises the question “How can we make better judgments when we make decisions?”. Well, you can’t avoid the effort! Your automatic brain is lazy and not easy to educate. Kahneman admits :”My intuitive thinking is just as prone to overconfidence, extreme predictions and fallacy as it was before studying these issues. I have improved only in my ability to recognize situations in which errors are likely”.
So the question is how can we minimize these errors?
Kahneman proposes this simple principle: recognize the signs that you are about to fall into one of the mind’s traps. These traps are very common when you are overly excited about a possibility such as love, a job, a project,a big purchase or when you are overly worried about an outcome and by default tend to avoid it. Trusting intuition and impression is extremely seductive: easy and quick. The advice is to slow down and follow a certain procedure. For example, when you are about to hire someone, invest your money, buy a house or apply for a job make sure you follow your own procedure and tick the checklist of criteria. Yes, it will slow you down! In case you wonder what steps should be on your checklist consider consulting Dr Google.
Remember, our decision is wise not by the outcome but the way in which it was made. Being wise as you now understand is all about the long-term rather than the short-term outcomes.
Wisdom to touch the heart
Do you ever wonder how influential are you in the life of the people around you—your family, your workmates, your friends and your community?
You will surely have noticed that your ‘intellectual’ arguments are not your most influential tools. To touch others, you need to touch their heart. The origin of the word ‘influence’ in English is ‘flow’. The origin of the Hebrew word for ‘influence’ is ‘abundance’. Well, you can see the similarities here, and this is where love connects with wisdom. You are much wiser with people when you approach them from a place of abundance, of love— you see, understand, care and support the people in your life.
About the author:
Guy (Hagai) Avisar is a psychologist with more than 30 years of experience helping people with relationship issues