“The next best thing to being wise oneself is to live in a circle of those who are” ~ C.S. Lewis
Wisdom comes to us in many ways. Confucius says, “By three methods we may learn wisdom: first, by reflection, which is the noblest; second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third, by experience, which is the most bitter.”
I think most learn wisdom by experience, and that experience is usually accomplished the hard way. I wish that didn’t have to be the case. How wonderful it would be for us to do as Mr. Lewis says and live in a circle of wisdom. To surround ourselves with people who love us and have no other motive in mind than to see us successful, fulfilled, and happy.
There are such people you know.
Our ears should be trained on people who have learned by experience and by reflection. And when they come to us in the spirit of concern and love, we should listen to them.
Unfortunately, when wisdom is given it often contradicts our desires, it interferes with our plans, it threatens to remove the blinders we have on and forces us to look at all aspects.
Once, when I was laying tile in our home, I was advised to measure the room to determine if it was square. If not, I needed to make adjustments. But I didn’t want to take the time. I just wanted to get the job done. I convinced myself that if I were careful to make sure that every tile corner met and used the spacers everything would turn out fine. A certain smugness over my decision to do it my way settled in as I sat on the floor and looked over the grout lines. They appeared straight—that is until I got to the far wall. My tile met the wall in the west corner, but was eight inches away from the wall on the east corner. When I stood and looked over the floor the grout lines were wavy. It made me sick! And even worse, I had to look at that floor every day. I covered it with rugs, but still, the poor tile job was there and I knew it.
There are many advisers in our lives and some are not worth listening to, especially if they do not have our best in mind. But for those who do, for those who have nothing to gain if you listen to them or not—listen to them. Reflect on what they say. Don’t let your own will dictate foolish decisions and actions on your part.
A ship’s captain who is steering his vessel in a storm cannot have the same sense of direction as one who watches above the storm. In the tempest of our lives, we do not have the same understanding and perception as those standing on the outside looking in.
I like what the first century Roman author, Publilius Syrus, said, “Many receive advice, only the wise profit from it.”
This week, be wise and listen to those who love you. Put down your will and take the blinders off. Honestly reflect on what they say. Then make your decision.