Take the Challenge

Do you remember the words of advice given to you by a parent or primary caretaker? Advice that would fall into the category of “wisdom”?

Advice vs. Wisdom

Since the beginning of time, people have passed down wisdom and knowledge to guide and protect future generations, to help them thrive, and to caution them against making mistakes. We have an innate desire to share what we know through our stories.

As a kid, you may have received advice that was intended as “wisdom” but really wasn’t. Advice such as, “wear clean underwear when you go out, so you won’t be embarrassed in case you’re in an accident.” Now, don’t get me wrong, cleanliness is a good thing, but I don’t think that was really the point. As far as I’m concerned, those types of messages encouraged us to be irrationally worried about what others think. I recommend that we laugh about these words of “advice” and even write about the context in which we received them, but let’s not pass them on as wisdom.

Wisdom is something more precious. It’s gained from experience, retained as knowledge, and applied as good judgment.

Identify and share wisdom.

Most of us earned the bulk of our wisdom the hard way, through mistakes, bad judgment, or not paying attention. We know we’ve gained wisdom simply because we don’t make the same silly mistakes we did when we were younger. Words of advice that were once mere “words” gain deeper meaning when they become part of our lived experience. For example, after experiencing the consequences of blurting out something you later regretted, you suddenly understand what your father meant when he said, “Think before you speak.”

The tricky thing about wisdom is that, unlike knowledge, it can’t be taught. There’s an inner “knowing” that surrounds it, similar to the sensation of being at peace, which can make it hard to put into words. Wisdom is knowing when to hold ‘em and when to fold ‘em. It’s knowing when to take the high road. Wisdom is trusting your inner guidance.

And even though wisdom can’t be taught, it can be shared. It can be shared through the one-liners we heard when we were young. It can be shared when someone asks us for advice. And it can be shared as lessons learned when we write our life stories.

Last week, I invited you to share some words of wisdom with me and with this community. I received some lovely emails back. Thank you. And I know that some of you who didn’t write back still gave it some thought.

What did you notice?

Did you notice, like many of us, including some who wrote to me, that it’s easier to share someone else’s wisdom than to name your own?

I invite you to take the challenge and gather your wisdom:

  1. Reflect on the wisdom you have received: Take a moment to think about the advice or wisdom that you have received in your life. Identify one or two pieces of advice that have resonated with you and that you still hold on to today. It could be words of wisdom from a family member, a friend, a mentor, or even from a book or a movie.
  1. Connect wisdom to personal experience: Consider your personal experiences that relate to the pieces of wisdom you’ve chosen. Recall a specific situation or event in your life where you witnessed the truth or effectiveness of that wisdom. Reflect on how that experience confirmed the value of the advice and how it influenced your actions, decisions, or perspective.
  1. Share a brief story about your experience: Write a brief narrative describing the event or situation that led you to incorporate this piece of wisdom into your life. Explain what happened, how it unfolded, and the impact it had on you. Illustrate the connection between the advice received and your personal experience. Highlight the lessons learned and the positive outcomes that resulted from applying that wisdom.

Embrace and share your wisdom.

This challenge is an opportunity for self-reflection and introspection. It allows you to recognize the wisdom you have gained through your own experiences and share it with others. By embracing this challenge, you can begin to uncover the valuable life lessons that have shaped you into who you are today. And, by sharing your wisdom through storytelling, the people you care about can engage with the content on an emotional level and remember the lessons more effectively.

So, take a moment to delve into your own wisdom and let your stories inspire and enlighten those around you.