When do we become wise? One definition of wisdom is;
” the quality of having experience, knowledge, and good judgement”
Wisdom is typically referenced to being of a certain age or if not in number, ‘wise beyond their years”. So how do you do ‘wise’? Being wise can be reflected in making smart decisions, leading a fulfilling life with a calm determination and a phrase I particularly like is a person being confident in their own skin.
While the idea of sitting atop a mountain retreat pondering life is a beautiful idea, the majority of us must work out how to practice that wisdom down here in our daily lives. Youth don’t always apply wisdom as it can seem to get in the way of a damn good time. But once responsibilities take over and maybe the glow of youth has started to fade, we can begin to apply wisdom even if we can’t relate to the age of wisdom.
So where to start? While wisdom can be a far reaching ethereal concept, there are some very practical aspects to life that can build the foundations of living a Wiser Life. Research has found there are four key pillars that underpin healthy and productive ageing, though while the widespread belief is that ageing is negative, let’s refer to it as the four pillars of healthy and productive living.
- Career and sense of purpose
This means different things to different people, earning an income, creating a thing of beauty, leaving a legacy or simply contributing to something outside ourselves. Wherever we draw this from is a result of many small and large decisions, dating back to our school years and upbringing. With an ever changing economy and increasing number of disruptions, there is now a greater need for clear decisions and actions. If you were asked where do you hope to be in 15 years; in management, self-employed, retired or working on a side project? What actions or decisions are required now? Planning can seem like the killjoy of spontaneity but if you plant the right seeds and make wise decisions, there is more room for spontaneity as you’re now in the driving seat of your own future.
- Financial security and wealth management
Without a sudden financial windfall, most of us need to start with a small amount and then put a strategy in place to help the nest egg grow. Not everyone loves or understands money but it does facilitate so many choices and the ability to live life instead of just existing. Research shows that individuals spend many hours per day worrying about their financial security and future. If you understand money and enjoy it, you may already have a clear strategy, passive income or investments. However, what if it all sounds like a foreign language? Professional advice from either a financial advisor, accountant or bank manager can provide advice to create a measured plan within your financial capacity, freeing up hours of worry and uncertainty.
- Health & Wellbeing
The phrase “without your health nothing else matters” is too often spoken by someone facing a health issue. As we age, there will be health challenges beyond our control that will require medical intervention. The four chronic disease groups that can lead to disability or death are cardiovascular, cancers, lung disease and diabetes as well as mental health illness causing significant disability. While some illness is genetic, there are three aspects of our lives where we can actively reduce the risks of chronic disease; mental wellness and activity, healthy nutrition and then regular physical activity appropriate to the individual. It is easy to become sedentary, eat convenient foods and absorb the fear and uncertainty in our modern world. It just takes some deliberate daily steps and commitment to create the healthiest possible version of ourselves.
Lifestyle can come in a myriad of forms, providing a sense of community, connection or contribution, whatever that may mean to each of us. For some lifestyle is found through family of every description or the wider community, belonging to an interest group, club or shared interest. Most of us had a lifestyle when we’re young and had time to fill but when life progresses and we find ourselves time poor, we often rely on our immediate surroundings or work environment to provide that community and connection. As the developed world becomes more specialised, how can work fulfil everything we need? Sometimes we need to move outside our four walls to connect to our tribe.
Living a WiserLife is a work in progress, an opportunity for reinvention and lifelong learning whatever our circumstances.
Andrea Warr is the Co-founder of WiserLife Pty Ltd