The search for external validation is an enticing one. Throughout my adult lifetime, I have pursued many shiny, external sources of potential validation, mostly having to do with money or women.
Whenever I have fallen for the illusion that something outside of myself can fulfill me, I am eventually and inevitably greeted with the reality that this is simply not the case.
This is because your reality is ultimately a reflection of your consciousness. If you don’t have it inside already–that is to say if you haven’t realized it inside you already–even if you get what you are after, it won’t complete you if you feel incomplete. It won’t satisfy you if you don’t already feel satisfied.
On the one hand, if you pursue what you want, you’ll either get it, or you’ll get the lessons. So either way, in this sense, you really can’t lose. You might as well go for it.
On the other hand, maybe you get what you want, but it turns out that what you *really* want is something else. Then back to the search, right?
When we finally exhaust ourselves from looking externally for that which can only come from within, maybe we simply take our seat in silence and begin to humbly listen.
And maybe this is the beginning of wisdom.
Just because someone is older does not mean they are wiser.
Wisdom is generally assumed to be closely correlated with age, i.e., “the older you are, the wiser you are.” However, to more accurately reflect reality, wisdom should instead be understood as loosely correlated with age.
Here are two reasons why:
1) Age is correlated with experience, but experience is accumulated in different areas of life by different people at extremely different RATES of accumulation.
Some people accumulate experience much more quickly relative to others. How to accumulate experience quickly and the factors involved in that is a good topic but one for another article.
2) Experience alone does not equal wisdom. It takes experience + understanding to produce wisdom plus at least a little something more.
Understanding is a combination of 1) intelligence – which I define as the ability to comprehend, assimilate and creatively combine information as well as 2) perspective – the capacity to recognize relationships between wholes and parts.
To add one more dimension, wisdom is greater than the sum of experience + understanding. It also has (at least) the qualities of patience, humility, gratitude, presence and probably humor.
If wisdom were a gourmet meal served at a fine restaurant, the appetizer would probably be humility, the main courses would consist of experience and understanding, and the dessert would be gratitude. Patience would be the beverage of choice, topped off frequently throughout. Also, just a heads up, the courses are likely to arrive in a completely unpredictable order, e.g., the first course might come before the appetizer and you might not get the second course until after dessert, so a little humor can go a long way.
P.S. If you know someone who would like to stoke the fires of purpose and passion in their life, to upgrade their vitality or increase their skillfulness with dating or relationships, forward them this email or send them this link!