the_wise_owl.jpgThis is a short post about a process, not a result.

I ran across the phrase, “The Ten Wisest People I Know,” in this morning’s reading. I decided to write a list of the 10 wisest people I know, including what I’d learned from them and how I had applied it. The first was easy, my dad. After that it became increasingly difficult.

I know a lot of great people, many of them very smart and exceedingly successful. The challenge was the “wisest” part. What defines wisdom? How is it different from raw intellect? Obviously it includes mature judgment, but what about ethics? Street smarts? Pithy sayings vs. life lived?

And what had I observed, learned, and applied? How had I grown from knowing these people? Had I been a worthy student, drinking from the cup of wisdom when offered? Or a slacker? Too sure of myself, too much of a maverick to recognize assistance when life offered it?

My list never was finished. But my journal is filled with scribbled thoughts, and I began the morning filled with inspiration and insight.

Who is on your list? Who are your “Ten Wisest People I Know”? How good a student have you been? What have you learned? What have you applied?

Bonus question: Are YOU on anyone else’s list?

Closing quotes:

“We thought because we had power, we had wisdom.” — Stephen Vincent Benet

“I hope our wisdom will grow with our power, and teach us that the less we use our power the greater it will be.” — Thomas Jefferson

“Good people are good because they’ve come to wisdom through failure. We get very little wisdom from success, you know.” — William Saroyan

“It is unwise to be too sure of one’s own wisdom. It is healthy to be reminded that the strongest might weaken and the wisest might err.” — Gandhi

“The beginning of wisdom is found in doubting; by doubting we come to the question, and by seeking we may come upon the truth.” — Pierre Abelard