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Most of us know some elderly people that would be considered wise by any standards. We also know some younger people who seem pretty wise, too. Wisdom is a wonderful thing!

What defines wisdom?

For most, wisdom means showing strength of character in the face of great odds; it means learning from one’s mistakes and it means carrying our age with grace.

Actually, wisdom consists of three major things: compassion, reflection and cognition.

It also consists of a majority of the traits or signs listed below:

  • knowledge and the intelligence to use it
  • understanding of human nature
  • emotional strength
  • humility
  • ability to learn from experience
  • openness
  • superior judgment and problem-solving skills

While we know that cognitive functioning decreases with age, this only makes sense as older people have a huge amount of information in their brains, while younger people are still compiling information and have yet to catch up. Speed isn’t everything. The elderly do not allow themselves to be run by emotion and are not impulsive, they are more thoughtful in their responses. Their greater sensitivity helps them to develop greater insight. This helps seniors to understand and help others.

In order to have satisfaction as you age, maintaining your physical and mental health is important. Positive relationships with others help and this is one reason so many seniors volunteer. They know that even if they become severely impaired, they will still find meaning and contentment in their lives and they accept that. In other words, they are able to accept reality and they have better coping skills.

How do I gain more wisdom?

True wisdom means knowing yourself and at the same time, understanding that you still have the ability for personal growth at any age, for the brain doesn’t stop growing cells. It means being positive about life as you age, to realize that what has happened is for the best and being able to acknowledge your mistakes.

As you age, you are more likely to focus on what you can contribute and that is when you start to simplify instead of complicating your life more by buying more things or moving to a larger home. A shift occurs when we age and instead of thinking about how old we are, we think of how much time we have left and how we can thrive while also settling for less. We start to spend our time doing the things we enjoy because, in our wisdom, we’ve learned that our lives are for us to live and not to live them for others.

How many wise people do you know? Are you one of them? It’s never too early or too late to get started on building wisdom.