Wisdom is an interesting, yet difficult, trait. We view older folks as wise simply because of their life experience. The longer one lives, we assume, the wiser one becomes.
But in our social media driven world, we know that to be untrue. You cannot look at your social media feeds without reading something crazy. And the craziness is not dependent on the age.
Our current political and social climate is a clear picture of this reality. In the days after Trump won the election, and in the time since he officially became president, a wide range of news and headlines swirl around our social media feeds. People rush to one conclusion or the other, often without regard for truth or logical thinking.
I’ve watched many people-often smart, educated adults-post wacko statements on both sides of the issues. I’ve watch silently as successfully professionals argue mindlessly in comment threads about one headline or another.
What do they all lack? Wisdom.
Specifically the wisdom of listening before speaking.
I once heard someone say “Don’t listen so you can respond. Listen so you can understand.” The ability to listen well is a lost art. As communication gets faster, we make the mistake speaking or posting before thinking.
Related Post: The listening advantage
Especially in the hot topics of political and social issues.
Wisdom through questions:
How then can we, regardless of age, live wisely when interacting with others?
How can we intentionally be wise in how we talk to people?
Solomon tells us the answer in Proverbs 18:13; If one gives an answer before he hears, it is his folly and shame. (ESV)
Listen before giving an answer. Instead of rushing to declare your opinions, spend more time asking questions. Be purposeful in getting a clear answer from those you speak to. Make every effort to fully understand their perspective before steamrolling them with yours.
Try it today. When your boss or coworker discusses a project or task, don’t rush to share your opinion. Ask thoughtful questions. Listen to their answers. Ask more questions if you need more clarity.
Increase the time between their response and your response. Focus more on questions and understanding, and you’ll be wise among those around you.