The Pursuit of Wisdom

By Linda Lord

As business owners or career employees, we all have a tremendous amount of information thrown at us each day. It is then our job to determine what is worth using and what may be discarded without remorse. That can be a very time consuming process. And many people do not have, or take, the time to thoughtfully consider the quality of the information that they have access to.

Yet, if we want to move past the simple accumulation of data to the practical application, we must pursue wisdom. Wisdom has been defined as “knowledge of what is true or right coupled with just judgment as to action; sagacity, discernment, or insight. It is an ideal that has been celebrated since antiquity as the application of knowledge needed to live a good life.

Beyond simply knowing/understanding what options are available, “wisdom” provides the ability to differentiate between them and choose the one that is best. What this means exactly depends on the various wisdom schools and traditions claiming to help foster it. In general, these schools have emphasized various combinations of the following: knowledge, understanding, experience, discipline, discretion, and intuitive understanding, along with a capacity to apply these qualities well towards finding solutions to problems. In many traditions, the terms wisdom and intelligence have somewhat overlapping meanings; in others they are arranged hierarchically, with intelligence being necessary but not sufficient for wisdom.

According to Rice (1958), two wisdom traditions can be identified in the Renaissance: Contemplative and prudential. Contemplative traditions, such as monastic traditions, emphasized meditation on one’s own experience as a pathway to the divine: Augustine of Hippo was an early and influential figure in the Christian lineage of this tradition. The status of wisdom or prudence as a virtue is recognized in cultural, philosophical and religious sources as the judicious and purposeful application of knowledge that is valued in society. Charron (1601) was an influential Renaissance proponent of this wisdom tradition.” (Source:

“Science investigates; religion interprets. Science gives man knowledge which is power; religion gives man wisdom which is control.”
Martin Luther King, Jr.

Monika Ardelt, Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Florida has created a model of wisdom that depends upon the cognitive, reflective, and affective dimensions of the human experience. For more information on her definitions and operationalizations, visit:

Too often we settle for the acquisition of knowledge without the critical element of application of what we know to enhance our experience. Pursue wisdom, too.

ABOUT LINDA LORD As a Human Agriculturalist and Storytiller: Linda produces presentations that grow people. She fertilizes the performance ground with H.O.P.E. (honesty, optimism, perspective, and experience) and plants seeds of L.I.F.E. (laughter, information, focus, and encouragement) that cultivate the individual's ability to C.O.P.E. (clarify, organize, plan, and engage). Linda integrates meaningful content with her experience as a workshop leader, business person, and performer. Her delivery is dynamic, interactive, and entertaining. Participants reflect on character, circumstances and choices to enhance their soft skills. Linda can be contacted on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, or by phone 1.519.257.7363.

By Adam

June 01, 2011