Basically, wisdom is navigational intelligence. It’s the capacity we’ve worked to build in each of the chapters in this book. It’s the ability to make the choices that create the positive consequences we want to have in our lives.
Think about the excerpts from A Cowboy’s Guide to Life at the beginning of this chapter. What would happen if you did squat with your spurs on . . . or kick a cow chip on a hot day . . . or slap a man who’s chewing tobacco? You probably wouldn’t like the results. So you avoid doing the things that bring those negative results. That’s wisdom.
On the other hand, what would happen if you decided to go to college instead of skateboarding your way through life . . . or put 10 percent of your income into a savings account every month . . . or invest time and effort in creating a great marriage or raising good kids? You’d probably like those results . . . particularly over time. You’d be making decisions that bring positive results. That’s wisdom.
Something or someone who is “wise” is “characterized by wisdom; marked by deep understanding, keen discernment, and a capacity for sound judgment.” Synonyms include sage, sapient, judicious, prudent, and sensible. Can you imagine a better characteristic to have as you try to make the daily decisions that will create satisfaction, life balance, and peace?
To one degree or another, we’re all aware of wisdom. It’s reflected in the way we speak:
“It’s not smart to ‘burn the candle at both ends.’”
“Those people are really wise with their money.”
“It’s dumb to spend too much time on the Web.”
“It would be foolish to buy that on credit—with interest, we’d end up paying for it twice.”
“They’re a nice young couple, but they spend their money as fast as they get it. That doesn’t seem very smart.”
“I didn’t say anything at the time; it wouldn’t have been wise.”
As we suggested in Chapter 2, the more we learn to value principles, evaluate experience and invite inspiration, the stronger our navigational intelligence, or “wisdom,” will be.
Having considered how to best navigate in each of the four areas— work, family, time, and money independently—let’s now revisit the three wisdom builders we identified in Chapter 2 and consider some high lever-age ways to increase your navigational intelligence in life as a whole.