"The unexamined life is not worth living." - Aristotle

Aristotle is thought of as a wise man, even though many of his ideas are now outdated. Yet if people still repeat the above phrase, it is perhaps because we think he was right on at least that item. Perhaps people do get some satisfaction from thinking about what it means to be alive.

Wisdom is the effective application of knowledge. It is the understanding of how things work. It is the understanding of the motivations of ones' self and others. The result of wisdom is good decisions that result in success and happiness.

To be considered "wise", a person must take more thought in his actions than the average person in the general public. The average person follows the trends and fads of society, typically without even realizing that they haven't questioned the beliefs of society.

It is difficult for the public to realize who the wise people really are. In some cases celebrities or other public figures are raised to the level of legends, where their supposed wisdom goes beyond that which is humanly possible. This is because people seek heroes; they seek someone who will take their worries and concerns away. A truly wise person understands this, and what a false hope it is. A truly wise person doesn't seek to be known as a legend. It is a vanity to seek such a title.

In reality, everyone has some wisdom as a result of their life's experiences. Everyone has something to contribute.

One can easily be inspired by the biographies of those who achieved extraordinary success, but it also makes sense to take advice from those who have failed.

Imagine that someone travelling on their "journey of life" has run into the ditch. Now they are standing on the side of the road holding a warning flag. Do you ignore their advice because they were a failure?

Consider the person who is holding that flag. They are doing something good to help others. You also have that same opportunity.

You can help others in every day conversation when the opportunity arises. Also you can contribute to this collection of "thoughts for the day," to share your own wisdom. [Click on the Vote button on this window, in order to contribute your feedback and ideas.]

From Pathways daily ideas file, copyright Arthur de Leyssac, 2009; all rights reserved.