Wisdom is the result of the distillation of your experiences

Imagine sitting on a deserted beach (or strand as it is called in Ireland) and having a revelation. A profound insight into the meaning of Life

Wisdom is the result of the distillation of your experiences – Adamus Saint-Germain

Imagine sitting on a deserted beach (or strand as it is called in Ireland) and having a revelation. A profound insight into the meaning of Life; the way you think, they way you act and the things you do. A paradigm shift. Well it happened to me very recently.

You see, I used to believe that the sum of all my knowledge and all my experiences could be put into a giant (metaphorical) funnel and the ‘extract’ (the sludge that emerged) was the basis of what I could teach or train people about. Knowledge is the accumulation of facts and data that you have learned about or experienced. It’s being aware of something, and having information. Knowledge is really about facts and ideas that we acquire through study, research, investigation, observation, or experience.

If you put all the ingredients from your kitchen in a giant funnel, what would emerge would be a dark, unappetising sludge. It might be beneficial but it lacks clarity.

While the model of a funnel (in it’s abstract sense) works, it doesn’t really reflect my clear vision of being amazing every day. I changed my mind after a visiting a micro brewery in Dingle, County Kerry. Perhaps the brewer's products, the taste of Tom Creens and seeing a Vodka distillation plant had a deeper effect on my mind than I had thought.

On the beach the following day, I saw the potcheen still as a perfect metaphor for what is really happening in my life.

My own particular 'journey' to becoming Amazing Every Day has taken years of research, deep thinking and real world testing. It is the sum of my background professional knowledge (in medical research, neuroscience, leadership, sport, comedy, speaking, comedy and mediation) combined with my own insight on to the meaning of Life. I have tried to distill this into a tangible essence, the science of being amazing defined and refined. Using the principle of a metaphorical still, I have (I hope) synthesised a precious droplet of wisdom, that is valuable and can transform lives.

Knowledge, Wisdom, and Insight may sound like synonyms, but they are not. Though they all refer to the mind and an accumulation of thoughts and experiences, they have some very real differences in the essence of their meanings and their applications in our life.

Wisdom is the ability to discern and judge which aspects of that knowledge are true, right, lasting, and applicable to your life. It’s the ability to apply that knowledge to the greater scheme of life. It’s also deeper; knowing the meaning or reason; about knowing why something is, and what it means to your life.

Insight is the deepest level of knowing and the most meaningful to your life. Insight is a deeper and clearer perception of life, of knowledge, of wisdom. It’s grasping the underlying nature of knowledge, and the essence of wisdom.

Consider this…

Knowledge is measuring that a desert path is 12.4 miles long.

Wisdom is packing enough water for the hike.

Insight is building a lemonade stand at mile 6.

Sadly we can gain a lifetime of knowledge, yet never see the wisdom in it. There is no distillation, just accumulation. We can be wise, but still miss the deeper meaning.

Knowledge, wisdom and insight all are valuable and all have a place in our lives. The difficulty lies in the fact that many of us are unclear as to their differences, often perceiving the terms and their application to be interchangeable. Being clear and consciously aware of how our minds are engaged may be important to getting the most out of all three. While acquiring and applying information is valuable in and of itself, we also need to distill and judge that information, and ultimately find the deeper meaning and relevance to the whole of our lives. Perhaps the truest form of knowing is in acquiring all three, and understanding how they each enhance the quality and experience of life.

Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge? Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?

– T. S. Eliot.

Knowledge is gathered from learning and education while most say that wisdom is gathered from day to day experiences and is a state of being wise. Knowledge is merely having clarity of facts and truths while wisdom is the practical ability to make consistently good decisions in life.

Some researchers [Rowley, J. (2006). Where is the wisdom that we have lost in knowledge? Journal of Documentation, 62(2), 251–270.] have identified wisdom as the combination of two categories of attributes:

  1. Exceptional understanding – using common sense, learning from past experiences, and seeing things within the large context.
  2. Judgment and communication – being aware of sources of good advice, understanding life, thinking carefully before deciding, seeing and considering all points of view.

People who practice wisdom in their life are rewarded intrinsically because the pleasure is derived from the experience itself rather than from some kind of external reward. My own distillation from life, philosophy, neuro-science, experiences, learning and ethnographical observation suggest that wise people have the following characteristics:

  1. Can be amazing every day.
  2. Seem to know a lot of ‘stuff’.
  3. They prefer to view problems from a broader long-term perspective (or as Jim Collins puts it in Great by Choice: Zoom in – Zoom Out).
  4. They are able to be in the flow and see things in context.
  5. They have open minds (yet have a scientific methodology) and flexible attitudes in adopting multiple perspectives of multiple stakeholders
  6. They recognise the uncertainty of life and the limits of their knowledge (Performance Feedback Revision).
  7. They are find positives in every difficult situation.
  8. They find solutions and look at outcomes.
  9. They separate the problem from the person.
  10. They are able to listen without judgment

To have wisdom means to have a vision in life and be able to see beyond the ordinary. Vision with action can change the world. However, vision without action is just a dream and action without vision just passes the time.

Wisdom = Knowledge + Ethics + Action.

Confucius (in The Analects) suggested that wisdom entails righteousness, and that the wise person studies and knows the Way (Tao), but also that knowledge must be combined with action.

Aristotle (in Nicomachean Ethics) spoke of practical wisdom as the ability to deliberate well about what is good and expedient regarding the conduct of a good life.

Kant (in Critique of Practical Reason) described the higher state of true wisdom as being concerned with the practical end of the existence of man on earth.

Tolstoy (in War and Peace) talks of wisdom not being found in knowledge, but through a consideration of the whole and an understanding of man’s place in it.

Dingle believes in the science of the metaphorical still:

Knowledge + Experience + Energy (distillation process) = Wisdom + Insight

In other words, if knowledge is information, wisdom is the understanding and application of that knowledge and insight is the awareness of the underlying essence of a truth.

I don't think you need to drink to get a revelation. Just open your eyes and see the beauty in this world.

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