As you have more milestone birthdays—the ones that end in “0”—you come to learn the myriad of things you don’t know. Life’s experiences give us wisdom, but for every answer there seems to be two questions that pop up that are not answered.
When you were a teenager or a young adult, everything seemed simple, easy, and you fully understood it all. As time passed, the simple black-and-white world faded into several complex shades of gray. We come to realize that people are products of their environment, their thinking, and their attitudes.
Often it seems that ignorant and uninitiated people want to tell you everything, while wise and learned people seem reluctant to speak. I believe that it is almost a universal law that people’s opinions that are forced on you are generally worthless, while those individuals who really have something to say must be sought out and questioned. Don’t ever ask anyone’s opinion who doesn’t have what you want. On the other hand, when you find people who have succeeded in the arena of your interest, you must specifically ask them for their wisdom.
As younger people, we think there is only one side to an issue. As we get older, we discover there are two sides, and when wisdom is really gained, we learn there are many sides with varying angles. Time, experience, books, and travel all expand one’s field of reference. Meeting different people from different places either in person or through books will cause us to think. Small-minded people often only associate with or read material from people with whom they agree. Wise people will discuss issues or read books written by people with whom they may not agree.
Wisdom is achieved by keeping an open mind and a closed mouth. On the other hand, ignorance is exposed by having an open mouth and a closed mind. Commit yourself to listen more than you talk, and be sure that you are listening to people who have something worth saying. Each day, you make either a deposit or a withdrawal in your life’s bank account of wisdom. Be sure to invest and save wisely.