Want to Stop Being Foolish and Grow Wise?
A leader with wisdom seems foolish to fools.
I called a businessperson for advice. He made some good points. But, I wasn’t sure I wanted to take his advice. It felt awkward. It was hard.
Wisdom often seems wrong to the foolish.
The next day, I asked another businessperson for his thoughts on the same subject. He gave me the same advice I had received the day before.
It’s astounding how certain we can be when we’re wrong.
- Make choices based on one option.
- Anticipate everything will go as planned.
- Defend their position, rather than exploring alternatives. Stay the course, even when it isn’t working.
- Believe head nodders. Reject constructive dissent.
- Gather information, but don’t take action.
The number one mark of wise leaders is passion for wisdom.
Wise leaders have open hearts, hungry minds, and active hands. Fools have self-serving hearts, closed minds, and indulgent hands.
7 ways to pursue wisdom:
- Commit yourself to becoming a skillful leader. (I substitute “skillful” for “wisdom” to elevate wisdom above intellect or theory.)
- Move from “what” to “who.” Before you ask, “What should I do,” ask, “Who might know?”
- Meet and talk with skillful people every chance you get. Ask things like:
- Who has made a difference in your life? How?
- What matters?
- What are you passionate about?
- What are you learning?
- Set up calls with top-of-class people. Aim extremely high. Keep trying.
- Quietly whisper in your head, “What does this person do extremely well? How might I emulate them?”
- Ask second and third questions.
- Reflect on the trajectory of your journey. Where are you going? Be brutal with yourself.
Bonus: Figure out what isn’t working and stop doing it.
How might leaders pursue wisdom?
How might you pursue wisdom this week?
Two quotes: “Anticipate everything will go as planned.” Truly foolish as you note. Nothing, repeat nothing, ever goes as planned – no matter how detailed that planning is… Yes, do some learning as needed and then some planning. But never expect the perfect plan – IT DOESN’T EXIST!!! With a plan, start efforts, self-assessing and refining as appropriate.
Second, “Ask second and third questions.” do your appropriate Considerations (http://johncbennettjr.com ) and then do ask all the questions appropriate for understanding.
As always, whether we’re foolish or effective is our CHOICE!!!
Thanks John. Because plans don’t go as planned, the question, “What are we learning,” has powerful implications. Thanks for stirring my mind.
Great post. I especially like the point about expecting everything to go as planned. In the words of Harry Potter, “When have our plans actually worked? We plan, we get there, all hell breaks loose.” Absolutely plan, but be ready to make course corrections as needed to reach your goal.
Thanks Jay. It looks like you and John resonate with “things don’t go as planned.” I appreciate your inclusion of the importance of planning.
Foolish leaders have answer to each and every question. They also have intention to prove wise people wrong. Yes, you are right, anyone who can speak their language is their friends. They do so because they have shallow knowledge and believe that they have more than enough. So, to pursue wisdom is to question self knowledge. It is important to go deeper to know anything. Many people think that by getting education they can be wise, but this is enough. People need to face various phased to learn. They should take responsibility and make decisions. Various ups and downs shape people more than anything else. This is the path to acquire wisdom.
I try to interact everyone on the way, if possible, While interacting I do not make any judgement who they are but try to listen to them with interest. I encourage them to speak more and more. In the process, I learn and grow This helps me to test my knowledge. In this way, I take steps to strengthen myself.
Thanks Ajay. “So, to pursue wisdom is to question self knowledge.” Wow!
Very good questions.
Love the insights. The character traits of a foolish leader. Why do I invest my time trying to change them? I try to encourage alternative solutions and seek to understand rather than to be understood. I want to embrace the idea constructive dissent. I learned from the best “foolish” leaders to shameful and judge dissent. I strive to embrace constructive dissent and exercise the growing muscles of wisdom.
I like the strengths-based approach of finding what is gold in another person and learning to emulate those skills and strategies. I often tell members of my team who struggle to find professionalism to identify a highly respected person they admire and “project” them. I have a mentor who is calm, assertive, and strategic. I often ask myself in tight spots “What would she do?” It’s quite helpful.
Couldn’t agree with this more….”Move from “what” to “who.” Before you ask, “What should I do,” ask, “Who might know?””
I feel like the best way a leader can acquire wisdom is to invite others viewpoints in a conversation, and not embrace the idea that their view is ultimate and only one that is pertinent. The Word of God states that “In the multitude of counselors, there is “safety”. And, also, there is a cliche’ which states, “Two heads are better than one.” One person can’t know it all.
Am just 19 but I find myself reading old people things, what is wrong.😂is there anything wrong with that.
How to overcome foolishness and become wise…
1) Be humble.
2) Admit your faults and vow to improve. No one is perfect. No one.
3) Stop thinking you’re the smartest person in the room.
4) Seek wise counsel.
5) Listen. You were given two ears and one mouth for a reason.
6) Be a servant leader. Put others first.
7) Be willing to change.
8) If you’re in a hole, stop digging. Admit that wrong choices were made, and make better ones.
9) Take the log out of your own eye before trying to remove flecks of dust from the eyes of others.