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6 Ways to Nurture Your Inner Sage

6 Ways to Nurture Your Inner Sage

“Knowledge is knowing the tomato is a fruit, wisdom is not putting it in your fruit salad.” – Miles Kington.

Wisdom has a close relationship with sight-related words: foresight, insight, hindsight, reflection, enlightenment, visionary, etc. The wise person is able to see beyond the small issues and find a larger perspective; that is why they are so fascinating and useful. Telling your problems to a wise person will result in a solution that you might have not been able to think of, because you are too concerned with your own problems (which, in the scheme of things, are small).

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Really, isn’t wisdom why we are all here? If wisdom is looking beyond individual things and seeing larger trends, then people on this website can see that their life is made up of all the little habits and traits that make them so individual. Crafting a better life is all about focusing on those small things and hacking them to create a larger effect further on in time.

Here are six uses of this skill of looking beyond the near and the obvious. They all have this one thing in common, but have wide and far reaching effects.

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See Beyond the Cloud of Emotions

Beginning with Aristotle and Plato, philosophers have argued that emotions interact with reason when we make decisions. Aristotle believed that emotions exist on difference scales, and having an extreme on either side of the scale is a failing. For example, the virtue of courage is the perfect middle ground between the extreme emotions of foolhardiness and cowardice. The way to make this balance, in Aristotle’s view, is by the use of reason. Or, to use a cartoon example, the Green Lantern has to use power rings of different colours (emotions) occasionally to overcome his enemies. Only when these emotions are channelled through the power of his green ring (representing willpower) can Hal Jordan save the day.

Seek Long-Term Goals instead of Short-Term Pleasures

The infamous marshmallow test suggests that being able to delay gratification is a cornerstone trait of successful people. But, more than that, it is linked to better physical health, psychological health and social standing. The connection is obvious: it is far easier to sit down and watch TV or eat, rather than going for a walk, having a heart-to-heart with a loved one, or making new friends. It is easy to forget what you want in the long-term when you don’t have clear goals—that is why having them is such an indicator of success.

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Dispel the Illusion of Certainty

Life is certain? Are you sure about that? Every living creature tends towards homeostasis: it attempts to stabilise its environment for security, stability and simplicity. The tendency of chance is to create insecurity, instability and complexity, but it is only through chance that living things can evolve. Evolution isn’t just limited to biology—it happens with culture and innovation as well. The wrong chance adaptions can cause an organism to die out (unsuccessful mutation) and this can be true of other evolution. The chance development of fire mutated and changed the race that discovered it; the chance development of nuclear power and rockets did the same, but they may be our end.
With chance, there are no limits to change because there are no restrictions of logic, purpose or morality. Understanding the nature of the dice can shatter comfortable realities, but it can also stop people from living an illusion.

See the Consequences of Your Actions

Just like throwing a rock into a lake, your actions create ripples. When you fail to understand the consequences of your actions, there are two resulting problems: if the consequence was negative, you will fail to learn from your mistake and keep on repeating the problem behaviour; if the consequence was positive, you will be unable to repeat the behaviour that gave you your desired results. Either way, you lose out. When you assess different courses of action, understanding the potential consequences is what allows you to repeatedly make the best decision. Remember the carpenter’s proverb; “measure twice, cut once”.

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Understand the Holistic Nature of Knowledge and Community

Learning in one area can improve learning in others. This isn’t touched upon much in schools, although some people capitalise upon it and produce great work in their exams. The classic example is that learning a musical instrument can make you better at mathematics. Our brains aren’t good at dividing what we know into subject areas—people just try to force them to do so.
The same can be said of communities: we live in societies that are dependent upon others, and part of accepting that is offering the acceptance we would give to a neighbour across the street to the people of a neighbouring country. Cosmopolitanism is the ideology that all humans belong to a single community based on shared respect and morality. It is the reason that Egyptian Muslims and Christians can protect each other as they pray, or that Superman can renounce his American citizenship to show that he is a protector of humanity and not just a single country.

See Things as They Are

Many of us have our vision obscured by the information presented to us. Media capitalises on sensational and gruesome stories, with little attention paid to the mundane, which makes it easy for us to become disenchanted with the world. When we see current events, there is wisdom in looking into the context and the history behind those events, as well as looking forward to the possible future outcomes. In the history and context lie stories and motivations that are ignored just to give a story a certain spin or to make an argument appear stronger.

The truly wise man understands how far the scope of knowledge extends and how little they know in comparison. Because of this, a wise man would never try to list comprehensively all the ways to become wise, so these are a just a chosen few. Feel free to add to them, in your own time.

Featured photo credit:  Piercing owl Eyes via Shutterstock

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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