“No man was ever wise by chance.” — Lucius Annaeus Seneca, Roman Philosopher and Politician
Wisdom doesn’t just fall into your lap. You need to be open to receiving it and applying it because wisdom is about knowing how to act on knowledge. It turns out, there’s a wealth of wisdom within the people around us if we’re willing to listen.
Here are three more pieces of wisdom shared through stories from the online community:
Biplob Ghosh, Statistician, Statistics Canada
A good friend of mine taught me the importance of negotiating with people at work and not burning your bridges. In his particular case, he was offered a position on a different team at the same organization for something he could have a profound impact on for years to come. However, he made a verbal commitment to finish a short-term project (which would take at least half a year) shortly before the appealing offer was made to him. What to do? Switch teams now or pass on a one-time opportunity? He ended up negotiating with both teams that he would work hard on finishing up his current commitments faster so that he could make the transition sooner. One doesn’t know where they’ll end up, so it’s good to have people who will be your advocates now and in years to come.
I have another piece of wisdom that might be useful.
Everyone always talks about doing what you love. But how do you find that out? A good friend of mine helped me answer that. My friend loves mathematical theories and their applications, and his current job suits his education and interest. I once asked him, “Would you do this job for free?” He answered in the affirmative without hesitation. Therefore, any pay, benefits and vacation are just bonuses. So one way of finding out what you are passionate about is to ask what would you do for free, without any compensation other than just the satisfaction of work done well. Anything else is just icing on a very satisfying cake.
Robyn C. Jackson, Stay-at-Home Mom and Freelance Writer, Self-Employed
As a wife and mother for the last 19 years, I have had many jobs. These jobs allowed me the freedom not only to be at home with my children, but also to write as I needed or wanted. Writing has been the only constant in my long list of jobs. At some point, it stopped being a job and became a career; this is not because I am making wonderful money, but because it is my passion.
I can remember back in junior high when I would write poetry every chance I had. I even wrote it in Spanish and received extra credit. The other students hated me because they ended up having to write poetry in Spanish as an assignment. Due to the way the students treated me, I almost stopped writing poetry. This was until one day, my English teacher spoke to me. Mr Hallstein said, “There will always be people who hate your writing for one reason or another. There will always be people who will be jealous of your writing and mistreat you because of it, but you need to keep writing because it is part of who you are.”
When I heard those words, I realized that my writing style will not be for everyone. It may even be only for a handful, but it is the handful that will read my words and feel what I felt when I wrote them. They will be the ones who understand me and who can relate to me. They will be the ones who will, in a small but significant way, be part of my world and my life, even if we never meet face to face.
If I had to give credit to anyone for encouraging me or giving me words of wisdom, it would be him: Mr. Hallstein, who helped me realize that writing is in fact part of who I am and I never want to give up on me.
Abe Palmer, Manager, Retail
I have what I think to be two of the best statements of advice I have ever been given. The first is from my father:
“Son! If you learn how to work with your hands, you’ll never be without a job.”
Back then in 1976, I was 14 years old and had no idea what he was telling me, but I went for it anyway. Over the years, I became skilled in the trade of my father and brothers, not knowing that someday, an interconnected skill would be used in my career of choice that I still embrace after 29 years in retail. I didn’t see that my father was telling me that if I developed my work ethic and applied it to all I do, that I would always excel. It is never too early in life to learn this needed attribute and it will serve you through your entire life.
The second is from Haven Simons, a former COO of the first retail company I worked for:
“Balance between a person’s professional, personal and social life is crucial to reach one’s full potential.”
I have witnessed firsthand what balance and imbalance can cause. I am embarrassed to say that I know the meaning of this quote: “No other success can compensate for failure in the home.”
What pieces of wisdom have you gained from the elders in your life? Tell us in the comments below!