My grandfather used to say “Experience brings knowledge, but wisdom is the ability to learn from the mistakes of others.”
It has been said that experience is the best teacher and someone who learns from experience has gained a wealth of knowledge, but knowledge and wisdom are the same thing right…or are they? According to my grandfather’s quote they are not only different in definition, but in acquisition as well. In the end, what I hope you will find is that knowledge and wisdom have many similarities, but truly have a vast difference in value and exhibition of character.
In my last entry “Well...What do you know” we looked at the difference between life experiences and a true mistakes, and this entry would be the next progression in that concept of thought. Whether or not we want to be, we are all students in the classroom of life, and like any other classroom, there are differences in the learning styles of the students. Some students need to repeat a lesson over and over until they get a clear understanding of the message, other students learn the first time they are exposed to the new information and are ready to pass a test. Then there are those students who seem to know the concept before they are taught, almost ahead of their grade, so much so, that there are higher level classes available to them for accelerated learning and often they are referred to as “gifted.”
The school of life is much the same - and experience is an unrelenting, yet rewarding teacher of its indispensable education. Applicably, the tests and trials that we all go through each contain within them a lesson to be learned, intended to increase the knowledge of the learner. Unfortunately if the lesson is not learned, the test or trial is destined to be repeated. On the other hand, as we begin to understand the opportunities to learn through our trials, they can become more bearable as we focus on the lesson, not the trial as we go through it. Even greater, when we take a moment to gain the knowledge of a life lesson through the observation or wise counsel of someone who has already been taught by experience, then we gain the wisdom that can be displayed when we face that kind of trial, and may accelerate us through it. People who display this method of learning are often referred to as…”wise”
At times, when I was younger, people would say to me,”Thomas, you have an old soul”, a compliment meaning that I was displaying wisdom beyond my years...at that moment. It took me a while to understand, because usually I was just following some “right thing to do” that I learned from someone else, but that was just it – I learned it without having to go through it. The book of Proverbs in the bible is saturated with wisdom, I recommend you read it; additionally the older generation have volumes of wisdom that they would love to share and we all should learn something new every day. Access to wisdom is all around you, the question is what kind of student are you going to be? My prayer is that as you continue learning the lessons that come your way, you grasp those tidbits of wisdom available to you, so that life's tests and trials become less of a chance to merely obtain knowledge, and more of an opportunity to display the wisdom you have acquired. Be Blessed