For a long time, my wife had a habit that frustrated me! She would always leave a pile of clothes at the bottom of the stairs. I would frequently trip over it as I tried to get past. “Why on earth would she do that? Why can’t she just bring them upstairs?” I thought. Little did I realise that I had a habit that was irritating my wife. Throughout the day, she would gather the clothes dropped or shedded by the kids and leave them near the stairs to take up with her next time she needed to go upstairs. It prevented her from going up and down all the time. “Why on earth won’t Ben pick that pile up and bring it with him when he comes upstairs?” she thought! Good point. Well, it’s easy. I’m stupid! I don’t know why I didn’t think about it. I just got frustrated. Fortunately, we discussed it and I learned a quick and simple lesson. Now, I carry the clothes up the stairs when I see the pile.
There is an old proverb which says: “Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all they getting get understanding.”
Candidly, I confess that the getting of knowledge and wisdom is often achieved (at least for me) through trial and error. It took me a while to learn why the clothes were at the bottom of the stairs but it became wisdom for me when I picked them up and took them with me!
My wife has often said that “Wisdom is knowledge correctly applied.” This suggests that to get wisdom, we need to act, not simply read about it. We must do in order to become.
The acquisition of wisdom is perhaps one of the most central ingredients of happiness. Whilst they may say that “ignorance is bliss,” I actually find it to be most frustrating – and if you asked my wife, she would agree with you!
I have also found that true wisdom is not rooted in academia or specialist knowledge, but in moral virtues such as patience, kindness, compassion, selflessness, tolerance, courage, chastity and humility – to name a few. The great thing is, life gives us opportunities every day to practice with these qualities and to become better.
If you want a happy life, I would simply say “with all thy getting, get understanding,” because wisdom is the principal thing.
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