The 4 Keys to Wisdom
I hide like buried treasure in a field
Until my splendid riches are revealed
More precious than silver or gold
Only for a price am I sold
If you incline your ear and apply your heart too
Only then will I reveal my secrets to you
I am treasured by others
Yet scorned by some
What can I be?
I am Wisdom
If you had one wish, what would you ask for?
King Solomon asked for wisdom, and as a result, he got long life, riches, and fame.
It seems if you have wisdom, you’ve got it all. You’d know what to do in confusing social situations, you’d have a bright career ahead of you with millions of dollars (hopefully), and you’d have a plan for the future. Teenagers are often notorious for not having it, though we definitely need it. So what is it? And more importantly: how do you get it?
- Applying Knowledge
Wisdom was often a value used in debate, and it was defined as: the application of knowledge.
How often do we know we should do something or we have a great idea, but we don’t act on it? We have the knowledge, but we don’t apply it, and knowledge without action is useless.
According to Brian Tracy, there’s a correlation between how quickly you act on something you’ve been told and whether you’ll do it at all. In other words, when you happen upon a great idea, act on it or it might never happen.
A few weeks ago, I hosted a series of giveaways. I’d thought of hosting giveaways a very long while ago, but I didn’t do anything. Why? Because I was afraid. I mean, what if someone said “no?” I knew it didn’t really matter, but the idea was intimidating nonetheless. Finally, I realized that hosting giveaways was a good idea, and I have a policy on acting on good ideas. So I did. And I intend to host more giveaways in the future.
- Be Prepared
I’m memorizing Matthew 25 right now, and I’m on the parable about ten virgins. It’s said there were five who were wise and five who were foolish. What defines the two? The wise ones were “those who were ready.”
I think the second part of wisdom is being prepared, having a plan, knowing where you’re going. For example, someone who parties all night and wakes up with a hangover they regret wouldn’t be called wise. Why? Because they didn’t think of the consequences.
Before I go on a trip, I pull up a pre-typed packing list used from a similar trip. I double check my list as I pack, check the forecast to see if I need an umbrella, and sometimes print out maps if I’m going to a summer camp and want to remember the layout.
Now, making packing lists probably isn’t the key to wisdom or anything—this is just an example 😉 The point is be prepared for what’s ahead.
- Get Advice
“Listen to advice and accept discipline, and at the end you will be counted among the wise.”
And this doesn’t just mean advice you asked for—it also includes unsolicited advice. I try to find value in every piece of advice given to me, but it’s hard. Sometimes sickeningly so.
A few weeks ago, there was a miscommunication that gave someone the impression that I was arrogant. As a result, a few articles on character were printed, highlighted, and given to me. Pointed correction is the worst. Don’t you hate it when someone’s praying and you feel like they’re talking more to you than to God?
“Dear God, please help Elizabeth to have a better attitude.”
It’s hard to take, because it’s so directed at you. I’ve always found it easier to take advice from a sermon that’s not necessarily for me and me alone.
And correction is also hard when you feel like it’s totally irrelevant and doesn’t apply to you.
But I read those articles and made sure to underline sentences that struck me, though it was the last thing I wanted to do. Those articles had a lot of good truths in them, but the humility it took to read them nearly made me nauseous. Seriously, I’m not a fan of humility. It’s just so… humbling.
Though taking unsolicited advice and correction is hard, try to see the value in whatever advice is offered to you. You might not like it in the moment, but you might benefit from it years later.
- Seek God
We often think of old people as wise. Why? Because they have experience. If you’re a teenager, they’re many times older than you are.
Luckily for the young people out there, there’s a short cut! You don’t have to wait decades to have wisdom; you can go directly to the source—God.
“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.”
If you only follow one of these tips, follow this one. All of the others will follow sooner or later.
So, what do you think is the most effective way to gain wisdom? What decisions would you like wisdom for? Of these methods for gaining wisdom, which is the hardest for you?