Wisdom Words Become Guiding Principles When We Take That Next Big Step Past Knowledge

"In a sense, knowledge shrinks as wisdom grows, for details are swallowed up in principles.  The details for knowledge, which are important, will be picked up ad hoc in each avocation of life, but the habit of the active utilization of well-understood principles is the final possession of wisdom."  Alfred North Whitehead

Usually in life, words are just words.  But in some people, we see wisdom words become a launching pad to greatness.  This isn't a new concept, although it is too often hidden from the population.  Perhaps hidden is not the correct word.  Maybe overshadowed would explain the lack of recognition more accurately.

I've always felt that there is a certain "next step" that follows the drive to seek more knowledge.  At least among people who carry the vital personal characteristics that bring wisdom words to a position of strength and creativity, rather than just letters on a page or noise from a direction-less voice.

In this page we'll give you some ideas about the incredible value and potential available when we move from a point of knowledge to a level where our wisdom words inspire greatness from other people. 

Wisdom Words

* Integrity

* Humility

* Courage

* Servant Leadership

* Character

* Principles

In the paragraphs that follow, we'll brings these wisdom words to life and to action that serves the greater good.

The Meaning Of Wisdom

In his classic book, "The 8th Habit," Stephen Covey writes, "The technology for the Hunter-Gatherer Age was symbolized by the bow and arrow; the Agricultural Age, by farm equipment; the Industrial Age, by the factory, the Information/Knowledge Worker Age, by a human being; the Age Of Wisdom, by a compass, which signifies the power to choose our direction and purpose and obey the natural laws or principles (magnetic north) that never change and that are universal, timeless, and self-evident."

We've written about character traits and about various levels of leadership in other pages at books-empower.com.  I believe the true meaning of wisdom comes from taking those two ideas and building to the next level.

"Service is the rent we pay for living in this world of ours."  Nathan Eldon Tanner

It is the most difficult step because it requires us to look deeper and challenge ourselves to stretch farther and trust more than we ever have in the past.  It is this requirement that makes the process of how to develop wisdom too much for some to tackle. 

I think part of this challenge is the seemingly constant pull from the fast-paced world to seek shortcuts, to look for ways to circumvent the process and for methods of stepping over someone else to advance ourselves.

And I think the challenge of looking within ourselves to recognize that the more we know, the more we realize how much we don't really know, is not a comforting feeling.  Part of that shortcut process means that if something isn't comfortable, we can just skip it.

To bring wisdom words to the level of action steps, we need to embrace the process and make the transition from transferring the acquisition of knowledge to making every decision based on a moral compass that tells us to do what is right, because it is right.

Knowledge Versus Wisdom

In the "The 8th Habit," Dr. Covey expands on this idea in a much better way than I do.  And that is a core principle in this process of making wisdom words more than just words.  One definition of wisdom is understanding where we have shortcomings and allowing the skills of someone else to help bring the message home.  After all, the goal is to make a positive difference, not to scoop up personal accolades.

He writes, "As your knowledge increases, what happens to your ignorance?  It obviously becomes larger, or at least your awareness of your ignorance becomes larger.  So the more you know, the more you realize you don't know.

What if you were trying to serve purposes greater than your knowledge-greater than your comfort zone?  This would create genuine humility and a desire to draw upon help from others-from a partnership or team."

So another way to use the power of wisdom words is to realize that while knowledge is important, the ability to recognize where we need to put the value of the accomplishment above personal reward, is a living example of wisdom.

Dr. Covey writes, "I believe that when information and knowledge are impregnated with worthy purposes and principles, you have wisdom."  He adds another powerful illustration in the following quote.

"Another way of putting this would be that wisdom is the child of integrity-being integrated around principles.  And integrity is the child of of humility and courage.  In fact you could say that humility is the mother of all virtues because humility acknowledges that there are natural laws or principles that govern the universe.

They are in charge.  We are not.  Pride teaches us that we are in charge.  Humility teaches us to understand and live by principles, because they ultimately govern the consequences of our actions.

"Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgement that something else is more important than fear."  Ambrose Redmoon

If humility is the mother, courage is the father of wisdom.  Because to truly live by these principles when they are contrary to social mores, norms and values takes enormous courage."

Another definition of wisdom is the ability to muster the courage to make our words of wisdom come alive in our actions.  Our world is crying out for leaders who understand this concept and the character traits of the following section.

True Wisdom Leads To Servant Leadership

We Achieve Wisdom When We Become Level 5 Leaders

The image just above this paragraph shows the "The Level 5 Hierarchy" from Jim Collins book, "Good To Great."  He states, " The most powerfully trans-formative executives possess a paradoxical mixture of personal humility and professional will.  They are timid and ferocious.  Shy and fearless.  They are rare-and unstoppable...good to great transformations don't happen without level five leaders at the helm, they just don't."

So our direction is clear.  We need to create more level 5 leaders.  As our child's most important teacher, it is incumbent upon us to show them the pathway to becoming that level 5 leader.  As we've written in other pages at books-empower.com, we show them because they watch what we do more than listen to what we say.

Think about some of the corporations in our world right now.  Think about the elected officials and the ones behind the scenes pulling their strings.  Do you see true wisdom in their actions?  Do you see them making decisions based on the following message from Willis Harmon, a co-founder of the World Business Academy?

"Business has to adopt a tradition...to share the responsibility of the whole.  Every decision that is made, every action that is taken, must be viewed in light of that responsibility."

We've written about the Monsanto conspiracy placing profits ahead of human health, in a manner championed by big tobacco and copied by DuPont and Dow.  We see on a daily basis how politicians from both sides of the two-headed monster that has a death grip on the election process in America, tell us one thing but do the opposite.

Stephen Covey writes, "I believe this millennium will become the Age of Wisdom.  It will come about either through the force of circumstance that humbles people, or through the force of conscience-or both."

We can turn those wisdom words into action steps by becoming that level 5 leader and guiding the next generation to follow our lead.  Wisdom comes from constantly seeking new knowledge, utilizing the skills acquired by that drive to learn more and incorporating the skills of team members to create positive change.

I added links to the pages that lead us to this point of understanding how to develop wisdom and how to use the wisdom words to do something great.  Something that will  be viewed in light of our responsibility as citizens of the world.

Character Counts

Character Evidence

Definition Of Integrity

Leadership Quotes

Teamwork Theories

What Does Stewardship Mean?

Robert Greenleaf wrote an outstanding essay on this topic, titled "The Servant As Leader."  It's fairly long, but well worth your time.  I've included this link to give you a short overview of his work.

I've also added a link if you'd like to purchase Dr. Stephen Covey's great book, "The 8th Habit."  You'll find it just below this paragraph.


Return From Wisdom Words To Business Intelligence Tools

Return To Page Directory

Return To List Of Classic Books

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Just below is a quote from "Don't Sweat The Small Stuff" by Richard Carlson.  The chapter title is "Open Your Heart To Compassion." 

"Every day we are given hundreds of opportunities to practice compassion in action.  We can learn to be less reactive and live with more patience.

We can smile when others are serious.  We can drive our cars more carefully, pick up litter on the streets, recycle, and reduce our consumption.

We can resolve conflicts rather than create them, and we can become less judgemental and more inclusive.  When someone is aggressive, we can teach them to be more peaceful.  Instead of waiting for an example, we can be the example.

The more compassion that enters your heart, the happier and more peaceful you will become.  By knowing that you are doing your part to create a better world-whatever form that takes-you will fill any void that exists in your life, and you will begin to find the peace you are looking for."

What's New?

Just below is an article from Peter Schiff about passing the buck from one administration to the next.

Owning The Bubble

Just below is a link to look up your congressional representatives.   Let them know you expect accountability.

Congressional Representative Look Up