In my short time on this earth, I have learned that there are two types of people: those who love to learn through experience (wisdom seekers) and those who love to learn through study (knowledge seekers). I have also learned that there is a difference between knowledge seekers and wisdom seekers.
Knowledge seekers go through life with a passion to acquire knowledge, which is information, awareness, or understanding gained through experience and study. Knowledge seekers hold themselves in high-esteem because they have acquired information through their experiences and studies.
Wisdom seekers on the other hand, go through life with a passion to acquire wisdom, which is the ability to to use knowledge and experience with common sense and insight. Wisdom seekers hold themselves in high-esteem because they have experienced good and bad things and have acquired information through their experiences.
While both types of seekers are learning, wisdom seekers are at a disadvantage. One of the key components of being wise is to apply knowledge and experience with good common sense and insight. Common sense refers to what is common to you, which means people will typically engage in behavior that is common to them (good or bad). Therefore, insight which is the experience of grasping or understanding the inner nature of things intuitively, is the most important element associated with being wise.
How does one gain insight? I am glad you asked. I have learned that life experiences alone does not make a person wise or give them insight. Individuals can go through life and experience things repeatedly, but do not develop insight into how to address or resolve their problems.
In the Black community, many of us believe that we have to go through something in order to learn or gain insight, so we fail to establish a sound knowledge base first. We often hear, “Until you go through something, you can’t tell me anything”. This is unfortunate, but continues to occur because many African Americans believe that experience is the best teacher.
Many of us learn life lessons after we take the test. Vernon Law, a famous baseball player, once stated that, “Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson awards.” One of my friends recently made the following comment: “Going through my divorce has taught me how to communicate and express my appreciation”. How backwards is this? There are books and people who can help improve communication skills.
How many of you would be okay with individuals learning how to drive and getting their driver’s license without studying the driving guide? Many of you would not accept this because those individuals would put their safety as well as yours at risk. Therefore, in order to get a driver’s license we must study because there are things we cannot and do not want to learn through experience. With this in mind, I believe that knowledge should be acquired through study and experience. One without the other can prove to be very unhealthy.
I have learned that a wise man or woman learns from his or her mistakes, but a wiser man or woman learns from the mistakes of others. As I grow as a person, my love for knowledge grows as well and I strive to equip myself with proper knowledge by studying (reading the bible, educational and self-help books, etc.).
Now I ask you again, “How does one gain Insight?” The answer is simple: Study!
I take studying seriously because I have acquired knowledge that I could not have acquired through my personal life experiences. Also, I taking studying seriously because Matthew 15:14 tells us that if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.
In closing, I ask: “What good is it to have lived and not have learned?” Do not live your life without acquiring proper knowledge that can help you live peacefully. Embrace every opportunity you have to acquire information or knowledge about yourself and others. If you develop nothing else in your life, I encourage you to develop a love for knowledge. The benefits are priceless. Be Blessed!