My definition of wisdom is doing something wrong so many times; you finally learn know how to do it right. The first time I learned this lesson was while I was on all fours crawling towards the finish line. When I was younger, I saw wise people seemingly make fewer mistakes.
As I watched them I witnessed how they operated with some kind of Jedi super power that enabled them to see around the next bend.
In work and life they knew
- what to do
- what to say
- what not to say
- when to say it.
At the time, I couldn’t claim these as areas of strength.
In the void of having experience I read a lot of books to gather more information.
Experience is worth a lot.
I listened to a younger woman recently expound on how a particular speaker that we listened to failed to connect with the audience.
It wasn’t that I necessarily disagreed with her.
What was missing was the reason she believed that the speaker failed.
She read in a book how a speaker should connect with an audience.
I’ve read a lot of books about how to be a better speaker, or writer, or runner or husband.
None of those books made me wise.
I gained some great information, but wisdom doesn’t come from a book.
“DNF” for my first marathon
In my first attempt at running a Marathon, I decided to wake up at 4 am and eat a whole bowl of spaghetti, take a handful of Advil and only drink water, not Gatorade during the race.
I had a plan.
I read it in a book.
I decided to try it for the first time on race day.
By the time I reached mile seventeen I was involuntarily dispensing the spaghetti on the racecourse.
By mile twenty-four I was on all fours crawling towards the medical tent.
In racing they call it a “DNF” when you “Do Not Finish”.
Now I have wisdom on how to run a marathon.
But most of what I know is a result of doing it wrong more times than I can count.
Use the books for gaining information, but use experiences to solidify wisdom.
I hope we will allow our mistakes to teach us.
Let me know if you want that marathon training program.
I bet I could dig it up for you.