Hermann Hesse said, "Wisdom can not impart. The wisdom that we might attempt to impart sounds like foolishness to the listener. Knowledge is communicated, but not wisdom. One can find it, live it, do wonders with it, but one can not communicate and teach it." So, where can we find wisdom so that we can live it out every day? I define wisdom as the ability to discern the best from three areas at the same time - 1) what's currently happening, 2) what could happen, 3) and what has happened — then applying that information at the right time, in the right way to achieve the most superior results possible. Useful wisdom requires a strong character that is rooted in sound principles. Let's look at some key elements to unlocking wisdom in our lives.
1. Experience – Like it or not, wisdom is not something we can get from school or buy in a store. Asking for advice or opinion is one thing, but wisdom comes from processing everything we have experienced (successes and failures) and then applying it appropriately to what's before us.
Everybody goes through struggles, but not everyone obtains wisdom from their encounters. Allow your experiences to be filtered with the truth. Know that wisdom is always closely related to truth. When adequately accessed, your experiences can help you make wise choices. Work to process your experiences because it is key to wisdom rightly.
2. Understand - To know the reason behind what's going on is one thing, but gaining that real understanding which brings wisdom requires us to know the real value or motive behind our actions and others. To reach this level of wisdom, we need to have precise purposes and focused goals. Wisdom is shown abroad when we understand our responsibilities first, accept the positions of others, and work together in unity to accomplish the greater good.
Captivate and absorb as much as you can from all the places you can; anytime you can so you can be aware of how to respond to your surroundings. You can make wise decisions when you have a clear understanding of what needs to be done. It's a key to wisdom.
3. Conscience - It's always a challenge to know exactly when to do something and when not to do something. The times when we get it right, we are often called wise. Some accredit their success to their "gut feeling." But I think our conscience reveals our true personal motives. Our conscience is the inner sense that separates right from wrong. If our motives are clear and pushing for what's right and true, we can usually conclude that we are making a wise choice even if it doesn't seem like it at first.
Push to have your conscience directed with pure motives for what's best. Martin Luther King said it this way, "There comes a time when you must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but you must take it because your conscience tells you it is right." Have a clear (truth focused) conscience; it is a key to wisdom.
Summary - Find your wisdom by analyzing your experiences, seeking to understand life, and having a clear conscience all based on truth. Then attempt to apply that information at the right time in the right way for the best results possible in the present. Your wisdom has to be personally unlocked with each situation you face by you. In all that you do, pursue your wisdom!
I remember as a teen getting more responsibility. At the onset, I thought I was the man and was becoming a mature adult because I had more requirements. But after many mess-ups, I recognized more responsibility required more work and brought more stress. I was having severe issues with what I had been given to do. I reflected on a quote that said, "Maturity is accepting responsibility for your actions, being accountable for your results, and taking ownership of your mistakes." Success in our lives will only come from properly handling our responsibilities. Here are some tips to help us stand up to our commitments.
1. Cope – Learning to cope and deal with problems instead of blowing up, fighting, or giving up is a step to being responsibly mature. Life will bring frustrations and disappointments, but an undeterred commitment calls for a precise focus on accomplishing the goal in spite of obstacles and challenges. Wes Craven said it this way, "A lot of life is dealing with our curses and dealing with the cards we were given that aren't so nice. Will it make us into a monster, can we temper it in some way or will we accept it and go in some other direction?" How we cope with the stress of our lives determines the level of responsibility we can handle.
Work to be optimistic about every situation, good or bad. Allow them to empower and motivate you to achieve your goals. Don't visualize yourself as a helpless victim who can't change the circumstances. Instead, work to improve your situations at all costs from all angles. Don't give up! Always believe that there is a way through the mess. Step back, take a deep breath, and keep swinging at your responsibility. Maturity holds the hope of success in view.
2. Respond – Responding correctly and following through with our commitments is a sign of being responsibly mature. It's easy to point the finger and find fault in the other person to avoid our responsibilities. But just because we want to shift the blame to someone else doesn't make the problem go away. A mature person looks to solve the problem when it falls in their lap. They accept the responsibility to get the job done no matter who's the blame.
Owning up to responsibilities will require you to avoid vague excuses and playing the blame game. Think through your choices or decisions before you respond to them. Value your words and your commitments. Allow your responses to reflect mature responsibility.
3. Humble – Recently, I was in a meeting where one of the key elements discussed was how achieving success requires us to think differently about our everyday struggles. For example: To be on top, we must lift others, to lead, we must follow, and to impact others we must serve. Ken Blanchard said it best, "Humility does not mean you think less of yourself. It means you think of yourself less." A key to being responsibly mature is staying humble.
Real responsibility is more than "getting YOU to the top," it's about getting your whole team or others that are around you to the next level too. Being humble is not a sign of weakness; it is a sign of being responsible.
Summary – The level of your success is connected to the level of your responsibility. Learn to be more responsible by coping with the tough issues, responding correctly to the call of duty, and being humble when severing others. You are at the center of being responsibly mature.
A great quote says, "Everything we do is based on the choices we make. It's not our parents, our past relationships, our job, the economy, the weather, an argument, or our age that is to blame. We are responsible for every decision and every choice we make. Period!"
Choices are inevitable to life. If we live, there will always be a choice to be made. So, how do we make the right or the best choice? Three things to control when faced with a tough decision.
1. Fear – Fear can dominate our choices. Anxiety can cause us to react before we think. However, all fear is not bad but needs to be separated with proper thoughts. Emotional fear and genuine fear are the two that need to be separated. When we are emotionally fearful, it could mean that we don't fully understand what's before us and need to gain more knowledge or understanding. When we are afraid due to facts means that we have an understanding of what the choice entails and the possible outcomes that are associated. Factual fear is what we should base our decisions.
Gather the facts and be in control over your emotional fears. When fears are controlled, your choices can be dependable and sure even if the outcome is not favorable. You know you have made the best decision possible. Experiencing failure after making a wise choice is an opportunity to grow and learn from your mistakes. Push daily to make better choices than the ones you made yesterday.
2. Thinking – Making controlled choices takes place in our minds first. There we often struggle with over-thinking and over-complicating our problems. Clarity must be made between an 'over-analysis' and a 'useful analysis. Let's work to make our thoughts useful.
Restrict repetitive thoughts that are not producing actions. Over-analyzing' can be detrimental to having a productive decision.
Make your thoughts useful and productive with set standards and goals. These will help you in making the best choice possible.
3. Balance - Being balanced is key to making the proper choices in every situation. An unbalanced life can teeter one of two ways: 1) allowing our feelings to rule without facts or 2) being governed by just the facts without our feelings. Either one is not a position for success. To have the victory, we so desperately need we must find a balance between the two.
When working to have a balance between feelings and facts, look for a moment to contemplate. With a little time and quietness, you should be able to feel your gut instincts (emotions) and think through or research the facts. A balanced choice requires asking yourself a pro-active question: "Will the choice I'm about to make benefit everyone involved in the long run, especially me and my goals?" Be balanced in all your choices.
Summary – You can control your choices to reflect on who you desire to be. Control your fears by running them through the facts, don't over-think but put your thoughts into action steps to your goals, and balance your gut feelings and the facts to be real but solid. Make controlled choices!
Within each of us is a power that can alter activity on the other side of the world. That power is our spoken words. “Our speech is power: which should be used to persuade, convert, and compel.”, Says Ralph Waldo Emerson. Spoken and unspoken words have a tremendous effect on the success and failure of our lives. In the movie called “A Thousand Words,” Eddie Murphy plays a literary agent named Jack McCall who had one thousand words to use before he would physically die. Even his unspoken words counted against his thousand. He had a high price to pay for the use of his words and so do we. Martin Luther said it this way, “You are not only responsible for what you say, but also for what you do not say.” If we seek to live successful lives, we must take full responsibility for our words.
3 Power Guides
1. Bank – A word bank is a place where people keep words they have learned for future references. We all possess a word bank in our heads. Our memory bank is continuously being filled with words from our life experiences. Often we are not aware of what's deposited until it's time to use it. Now depending on what's stored, our withdrawals can show up as bullying, put-downs, and hating on favorable situations. We must filter what's collected, so our output isn't polluted.
Focus on being responsible by allowing your word bank to be filled with more positive words than negative. Challenge yourself to withdraw words that provoke thought, words that encourage, words that will guide those who hear.
2. Boundaries – Great power is usually protected with a barrier to prevent misuse from outsiders. When a baby is starting to crawl boundaries are put up to protect the child from harmful things. Those things don't seem bad to the child because they want to explore and try it all. But for someone that understands the dangers they can see the harm that can come from the child's inexperience and curiosity. In our heads we can be like the exploring child, wanting to say things because of feelings and emotions. Maturity calls for control on what we say because some words are better unsaid.
Formulate your word boundaries with your values. Allow your purposes to govern your words to be positive instead of a lethal weapon of destruction. Keep your boundaries refreshed by continuing to reflect on your responsibilities and goals before you utter a word to speak.
3. Bond – Like it or not we are physically bonded to our words. Zig Ziglar said it this way, "Life is like an echo. What we send out, comes back. What we sow, we reap. What we give we get. What we see in others, exist in us." Before we speak think about the effects our words have on others and ultimately ourselves.
You are bonded to your words of gossip, rudeness, lying, etc. and on the flip end when they are positive, they build and promote a better you. No matter what's depicted on T.V., negative words will never bring long term success. Your words express who you are on the inside to the outside world. Be one hundred percent purposeful with what you are doing and saying so the power connected to them can present a positive outlook.
Summary - Dr. Laurence J. Peter says, “Speak when you are angry - and you'll make the best speech you'll ever regret.” Use your words wisely, and they can unleash the world. Use them loosely, and they can destroy your present and your future. Increase your positive words by building your word bank, setting boundaries, and better understanding the bond you have with each word that comes out.
Winston Churchill said, "The price of greatness is responsibility." We all want to be great at something, even if it’s just talking to friends. But to be great in more areas requires us to be responsible in more areas. This means that we are the ones accountable for what’s going on. One day, as a manager, I was getting frustrated with everyone bringing me all their problems. I went to my mentor to vent, and he stopped me after the first sentence and asked, "Aren't you the one responsible? Isn't dealing with problems what you do? Step up to your responsibility!"
Wow! What a shutdown but true.
When dealing with our personal lives, we have the responsibility to govern our actions, which means dealing with our problems and issues. Freedom doesn't come if we continue to push our duties to the side. Friedrich Nietzsche said it this way, “Freedom is the will to be responsible to ourselves first.” True responsibility brings freedom.
3 Responsible Areas
1. Errors – It's inevitable, we all make some types of errors or mistakes daily. However, the irresponsible thing to do is to allow ourselves to live in error – continuing to practice or support the mistake we’ve made. Responsibility responds to mistakes and errors with quick confessions and sincere efforts to make things right as soon as possible, no matter the cost. This is a challenge for me, and I'm sure it is for all of us, but it is necessary if we want to live productive lives.
Accepting more responsibility calls for you to look at your messed up, accept your consequences, and work to make things right. Freedom comes by owning up to your errors not by covering them up.
2. Excuses – When we make comments like "I’m not responsible for this because..." or "I would've, but...” we could be making excuses to lighten the load for ourselves. Being responsible calls for us to know our place in what we do and then shut down the excuses we tell ourselves.
Overcoming the habit of making excuses is one that must be developed. Start by admitting the real reasons why you did or didn’t do what was needed. If you’re too lazy, too tired, or just felt like doing something else, that is the truth. Admit the real issue instead of lying about it but, keep in mind that just admitting to it doesn't necessarily take away or soften the consequences. Josiah Stamp said it this way, “It may be easy to dodge your responsibilities, but you cannot dodge the consequences of dodging your responsibilities.” Be willing to accept the consequences of what you have done without giving in to an excuse.
3. Earn – Every stage of responsibility should be earned. It’s like climbing a ladder; we can’t get to the top unless we first stand on the first step. We should not be entitled to a higher level of responsibility if we cannot master the first step. My son was asking me one day to move the car so he could play basketball, I said, "I don’t know son, you haven’t been doing too well at parking and moving the lawn mower." I wasn't telling him that he could never move the car, I was saying that you need to prove yourself more with less responsibility. His freedom was where he was; driving the lawnmower successfully. More would come as he mastered that.
If you desire more work, more trust, or more opportunities you must prove yourself on step one. If you're not moving, check yourself for signs of irresponsibility. Do you take for granted the responsibilities you have on level one? Watch how you say things like: this is boring, stupid, or a waste of my time. Work to take every opportunity as one that could bring freedom to your next level.
Summary – Accepting responsibility is a must for success in your life. The facts state that – a more challenging, fun, and a new thing will not keep you engaged in being more responsible in the long run. The things that will keep you involved in a new responsibility are your core values. Committing to a definite purpose backed by convictions like - honesty, positive attitude, respect, diligence, and self-control are key to you having long term success.
Doreen Virtue says, “Boundaries are a part of self-care. They are healthy, normal, and necessary.” Boundaries are those limits that keep us in the areas that are required for success. Believe it or not, healthy boundaries enable us to experience more of life. For example: A speed limit sign sets boundaries of what speed is needed to be safe in an area on the road. The posted limited is not set to take the fun out of driving but to guide us in having a successful arrival. Just as so, life boundaries should be in place to help us accomplish our goals with the least amount of complications. Life without boundaries can be chaotic.
1. Guide – On a tour there is often an experienced person to lead the guest through unfamiliar areas. The guide instructs the guests how to be safe and experience the most at the same time. In our lives we need a guide, someone that has the experience, to help set the boundaries for our lives. A life guider can simplify and give the reasons for needed boundaries plus direct our steps to experiencing the excitements of a successful life.
Find a guide (coach/mentor) who can help you establish boundaries for your life. Work hard to stay within the given limits and guidelines of those who have proven themselves wise. You might want to rebel but keep in mind what has been tested, tried and proven to be true might be great help to your destiny. Follow the guide!
2. Grip – Self-control comes from a root word meaning "to grip" or "take hold of". When we are willing to grip (limit) our words and actions within the boundaries set by our values and principles, we can see effective results in our lives. Benjamin Franklin said it like this, “Remember not only to say and do the right thing in the right place, but leave unsaid and undone the wrong thing at the tempting moment.” Gripping is taking control of our "whole" selves. It's allowing the boundaries to keep us in the right way, at the right time, doing the right things.
Grip your desires from the temptations that conflict with your goals and values. Watch the distraction triggers that are counteractive to staying within the boundaries for your goals. These personal triggers might seem alright for the moment but have a heavy detour that can get you off task. Stay within the boundaries by gripping your mind to stay focused.
3. Govern – We only have one body; therefore, putting boundaries around our bodies’ means that we are in charge. I heard a story that reminded me of governing: Frederick the Great King of Prussia was walking on the outskirts of Berlin when he encountered a very old man proceeding in the opposite direction. "Who are you?” He asked. "I'm a king," replied the old man. "A king!" laughed Frederick. "Over what kingdom do you govern?" "Over me," he proudly replied.
Governing yourself requires constant discipline and continuous tweaking of your boundaries. Make a decision to be in control of you. It is the most effective way to live a productive life. You can be the "king" or "queen" over your life.
Summary – Life boundaries are essential to achieving a life of success. Get a reputable guider to help you focus through your life issues, grip your words and actions to match your goals and govern yourself to stay within your boundaries for success. Live a life with healthy boundaries.