Reverb10 December 10 – Wisdom. What was the wisest decision you made this year, and how did it play out? prompted by Author Susannah Conway
Full disclosure: I avoided this prompt yesterday. Wisdom is such a big word…so much bigger than smart, clever, accomplished, intellectual, knowledgeable…bigger, even, than the definitions I found when I felt lost and went looking for clarification. First shot, from the ‘look up’ function in Word:
good sense: the ability to make sensible decisions and judgments based on personal knowledge and experience
Yeah. Ability, though, doesn’t always translate to doing, now does it? I most certainly have the ability to make sensible decisions. The will to execute, though, is another conversation.
Take two, from dictionary.com:
–noun 1. the quality or state of being wise; knowledge of what is true or right coupled with just judgment as to action; sagacity, discernment, or insight.
Better….combines knowledge with action. It’s that combination, I think, that separates those who do from those who know. Question is, what spurs the action? Perhaps wisdom, in part, comes from understanding our motivation and what lies behind the voices that divert our attention from what’s really important and keep us in the cycle of acting without wisdom.
This year, then, I’d have to say that the wisest decision I made was to stop thinking that everything is about ME. Taking the advice that I give my kids, that when someone is mean to you or hurts your feelings it more than likely has to do with them, and what they are dealing with, than it does with you. That when things don’t work out the way you want them to it’s not because the universe hates you; in fact the only connection to me is probably that I got from the universe what I gave it.
Part of coming to terms with the fact that it’s not all about me is taking responsibility: responsibility for my thoughts, for my actions, for my decisions. Someone may have done something that I hated; doesn’t mean I have to react with hatred. I cannot control them, but I can control how I respond (even if I choose to not respond….sometimes inaction is an action in itself).
Second point of full disclosure: this decision I made, to stop thinking that everything is about me, is something I fail at. Often. Daily. I forget to put ego aside, I get worked up in what I want or need and I forget to follow through on my wise decisions. I assume that when someone hurts my feelings they meant to do so, that when they slight me it’s because they don’t like me or that when they don’t keep their word it’s because of ME. I am still learning these things. I still struggle. I still fail.
The hardest part of the struggle, I think, is breaking the habit of assuming the worst. I don’t think I’m a Debbie Downer, especially when it comes to other people and their circumstance. When it’s me, though, I have come to understand that I think in a way that doesn’t serve me well. I assume deals will fall through; I assume people won’t value my work; I assume I am less than. Breaking that cycle, that’s the real work.
“If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at will change.”
~ Wayne Dyer