Social science researchers are confirming what ancient literature has taught for thousands of years.
The Berlin Wisdom Paradigm at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development defined wisdom:
“Conceived of wisdom as an expertise, just like any other, although this expertise is in something fairly important – expertise in the fundamental pragmatics of life.”
The findings confirm many of Solomon’s observations.
The study defined wisdom as having:
__Excellent problem-solving skills
__The ability to learn from experience
__Emotional resilience, or the ability to rebound from a setback
__Openness, or the maturity to be comfortable allowing the world to see you as you really are
__A deep understanding of human nature, including empathy for people who are different or from other cultures
Now the study also identified 6 Habits of Wise People:
1. They work at being social
2. They practice being open minded
3. They’ve learned how to say, “I could be wrong.”
4. They switch up what kinds of books they read.
5. They tap into their self-knowledge
6. They read the news
How many of those habits do you practice?
I want to say “yes!” to each one, but if I’m honest, I recognize that walking in wisdom requires intentionality.
If left to my own devices, I play the fool.
I retreat from social interactions, become unbending in my thinking, fight to be right, fall into ruts in reading, and reach for a USA Today over The New York Times (confession: I recently found a People magazine on a public bathroom floor, scooped it up, and read it cover to cover—not my best moment).
Yet Proverbs reminds us that we must develop the habits of the wise:
Proverbs 1:5: “Let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance.”
Proverbs 17:10: “A rebuke impresses a discerning person more than a hundred lashes a fool.”
Wisdom literature teaches us that the moral virtue of prudence is a close cousin to wisdom. Prudence is practical decision-making done well.
C.S. Lewis wrote, “Prudence means practical common sense, taking the trouble to think about what you are doing and what is likely to come of it… He wants us to be simple, single-minded, affectionate, and teachable, as good children are; but He also wants every bit of intelligence we have to be alert at its job, and in first-class fighting trim.”
Thus, wisdom in our lives are sub-virtues of prudence: caution, decisiveness, discernment, truthfulness, integrity, reasonableness, contentment, and dependability.
So today, may we be a people who ask God—the source of all wisdom—for the ability and courage to practice wisdom until its habit.