A friend of mine was telling me about her doctor who has diagnostic tools that measure the age of the cells in a human body. “I’m 58 chronologically but my body is that of a 62 year old,” she said matter of factly, quoting the results her doctor gave her.
I was astounded. “Is this something new?” I asked.
“No, he’s been doing it for years,” she explained, “and tracking it.” Some years her “cell age” was better than others. Some years the numbers matched or cell age was less than her chronological age. This time, her doctor put her on a protocol of nutritional supplements and diet advice to revitalize her “cell age.” Time will tell.
How Old are You in Wisdom Years?
Our conversation got me thinking about wisdom – and how elusive measuring that is. Just imagine, in a deep discussion, you could be asked, “What’s your wisdom age? How wise are you?”
Of course, measuring wisdom is a complex and subjective assignment. As an emotions therapist, I do know for certain, having worked with hundreds of people, that wisdom does not naturally come with age. Far from it. There are countless people wandering the planet in arrested “wisdom” development. They may have “big brains” but pull childish antics. Can you think of some famous ones? Drop down to the comments section with your candidate(s).
It’s hard to quantify wisdom because it encompasses a wide range of attributes.
Quick, think of someone you consider “wise.” In fact, I invite you to consider yourself!
Here is a good checklist for how your wisdom age is coming along:
✅ Self-Reflection: Wisdom often begins with self-awareness, which takes work. Do you do things that encourage introspection so that you can be aware of your values, your beliefs, and how they align with your purpose in the world?
✅ Emotional Intelligence: Wisdom is closely tied to a your ability to recognize and manage your emotions – and also empathize with others. Wise people can see the world from others’ perspectives, which allows them to offer valuable insights and support. They listen actively, without judgment, and provide guidance that respects the feelings and autonomy of others. How’s that going for you?
✅ Life Experience: This is something we all have. But putting life experience toward our wisdom age means we need to be able to make sense of our experiences and how they’ve shaped our perspectives in important ways. Again, to be aware of this, we need to practice self-reflection.
✅ Moral and Ethical Choices: Wisdom can be seen in the moral and ethical decisions you make. Wisdom in this instance is reflected in your ability to navigate complex ethical and moral dilemmas. This can be tough as it involves striking a balance between competing interests and values while adhering to principles of fairness and justice.
✅ Humility: Being modest is often intertwined with wisdom. Wise people acknowledge their limitations and are open to learning from others. They don’t pretend to have all the answers but seek continuous growth and self-improvement.
✅ Interconnectedness: Ok, a little woo-woo but a valid measure. Wisdom includes recognizing the interconnectedness of all things… with the universe, nature, and other people.
How do you believe you’re doing? How does your wisdom age compare with your chronological age?
Confusion Over Who’s Wise
In this culture, the thing that trips us up about wisdom is that we often jump to conclusions that smart people – or rich people – are wise. But wisdom transcends knowing facts or how to make money – it’s about applying that knowledge in a way that promotes well-being and the greater good.
We may never be able to put a “wisdom age” to ourselves but the presence of wisdom is often recognized through a person’s actions, decisions, and interactions with others. Wise people tend to exhibit a deep understanding of human nature, recognizing that people are complex and often driven by emotions and motivations and have learned to navigate that successfully.
With Love, Becca
P.S. Who are your role models for wise people and why? Please drop down to the comments section and let me know.