“By three methods we may learn wisdom: first, by reflection, which is noblest; second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third, by experience, which is the most bitter.”
Reflection calls for patience, an open mind, and eagerness to learn. We all know learning has no boundaries. We shall keep learning till we die. Nobody knows everything, leaving scope for us to gain extra knowledge. The challenge appears in the form of unwillingness to acknowledge our personal weaknesses. We shield them from others. Some of us put on a façade of imaginative wisdom merely to shirk away from accountability when summoned to act. Others shy away from participating in a productive discussion because of their sense of remorse.
“Our language is the reflection of ourselves. A language is an exact reflection of the character and growth of its speakers.”
Cesar Chavez, American Labor Leader and Civil Rights Activist
Once we choose to pick up necessary insight and put it to good advantage, it becomes easier to perceive wisdom. Keenly studying tough conditions, questions or obstacles and trying to discover an adequate answer and/or resolution is the approach to building up our personal grasp of reflection. Analytical bent of mind allows us to reflect upon problems, hardships, and/or weaknesses. Once you have determined the contributing factors, it comes easier to track down the correct means for surmounting the same.
Imitation may appear to be easier but it leads to many dangers. We cannot just imitate someone once and grow wise for life. Developing the pattern of imitating others brings us into a swamp that alters our own personality. Once in a while, we could use skills gained this way to influence somebody. But our conscience will not support us. “You can befool somebody once, you could befool many people many times BUT you cannot always befool everybody!” You will be caught sooner or later.
There is a trend gaining ground especially in the area of Coaching and Public Speaking. So called ‘experts’ advice others to imitate their beloved coach or speaker to benefit themselves. Such imitation may seem appealing in the beginning but how long can you carry on this way? You must build your own image whether Social Media engagement or content delivery. It frightens me to guess when or how such upcoming talent will ever establish its own identity if at all.
Experience: One of the most precious and enduring gains one can arrive at arises from experience. Our ability to deal with hardships prepares us for greater challenges with efficiency. This is how wisdom manifests itself. Another option is to learn from others’ mistakes.
This method is distinct from copying others. It allows us to escape from those errors. An unknown wise man once said:
“Learn from other people’s mistakes as you will not live long enough to commit them all yourself.”
Each experience leaves its imprint, either positive or negative. Good experiences encourage us to keep forging onward. Positive experiences help us reflect on what went wrong or how we could have achieved a more favorable result. Those eager to understand become wiser while others just rest content within their cocoon. This is where one’s humility and open must join forces.
Soon you decide to get out of your present situation the need for gaining further insight will begin to take roots. You will go through the desire for knowledge and be on your way to self-earned wisdom. Like they say; ‘sweet is the smell of success’, still sweeter will be the smell of your valuable wisdom that uplifts you and your companions!
Try It, You Might Like It!