“How to be Wise: Being Observed by Other People.” What a wonderful concept this book is. The author Lisa Nichols has done a tremendous job of preparing you for what is ahead. She begins the book with a simple but effective statement, “Be wise, be careful and be kind.” This is the perfect opening to this highly motivational book.
How to be wise is a universal lesson that applies to all people regardless of their age, religion, race, or background. How to be wise is a standard that can be applied at any time in your life by following a few simple steps. A wise man always follows his common good rather than the common good only for his gain. It’s not an innate quality but is acquired over time by oneself through constant observation and by working through the necessary stages on his own.
In this first part of the ten-part series “How to Be Wise,” Lisa Nichols provides some important insights into the nature of wisdom and how it can be gained. At the beginning of the first chapter she writes, “Wise people are rarely wise; common citizens are often wise.” In this first part of the ten-part series, she shares the insights she has discovered over her many years of research.
The first step in how to be wise is to ask yourself: “What am I looking for in life?” Are you looking for wisdom, knowledge, skill, social skills, or inner peace? If you are looking for ways to be wise you will be looking in the wrong places. By asking yourself such questions you will allow room for growth and development in your life. You will be examining yourself and comparing yourself to others. When comparing yourself you will be looking in grey instead of black.
The second step in how to be wise is to step back from your personal success story. Success is relative. What worked for me may not work for you. While it is good to aim for personal excellence Lisa maintains that the quest for wisdom does not focus on the result, but should rather be directed toward the journey along the way.
The third step in how to be wise is to look at your world and the world around you. Wisdom is knowing and understanding how things work for the common good. A wise man knows his world and what works and what does not work. It’s common good sense. So when you are searching for ways to be wise you must look at the common good and seek out wisdom.
The fourth step in how to be wise is to take a good hard look at yourself. Then ask yourself: Am I willing to work for my character? Am I willing to change to make my life more fulfilling? Do I have the fortitude to do what’s right even when it’s not popular or easy?
These four steps in how to be wise can change your outlook on life dramatically. If you are looking for ways to be wise, you are already on the right foot. Step two is knowing and understanding how the grey matter of life works and step three is stepping back and asking yourself the tough questions so you can develop wisdom.
When we don’t understand something, we ask, “Why am I being told this?” Most often, we react with: “You know, it makes me look smart.” Or “It’s part of your common good.” But those common good things like family, love, food, air, and water are always there but they don’t always make us understand.
You have no more claim on being wise than any person with more insight and intelligence has. As long as you do your part in the development of wisdom, you will continue to grow in wisdom. If you want to be wise, it’s important to take part in the development process by educating yourself and others. Then, whenever you need to, step back and use that wisdom to help others.
Asking the tough questions and stepping back can make you wiser. That’s the whole point, right? How to be wise is a continuous self-improvement process. We learn new information every day. So, find some new questions to ask and step back to see what you’ve learned.