Making the right decisions isn’t a luck or chance thing. It requires wisdom. I don’t mean just head-knowledge. Head-knowledge is important, but it’s still limited. Where head-knowledge means that you may know certain facts, true wisdom means that you know how to apply those facts. So I would even argue it isn’t information (or knowledge) that is power, but rather that true power comes from understanding and correct application of knowledge.
But why is this distinction important enough for me to spend time talking about it here?
Well, as managers and leaders in our organizations, we’re confronted with several decisions that need to be made every day. And it’s important for us to make the RIGHT decisions, especially when it impacts other people in our organization.
So the next questions is this… Where does wisdom come from? Or how does someone gain wisdom?
I think it would be honest for every one of us to say that we don’t have all of the wisdom that we need. If you still make ANY wrong decisions, then you still need to grow in wisdom. In fact some of the wisest people that I know even live by the idea that they don’t know everything.
Wisdom from Within
Some would say that wisdom comes from within. The problem with this is that there’s no standard when searching for wisdom. Everything is relative and subject to each of our own experiences. If it’s subject to our own experiences, then there’s a great deal of room for variance in what ideas are right and wrong. Ultimately, the idea that wisdom comes from within ourselves has too many problems in order to be a valid source.
Wisdom from Others
Then there’s also the idea that we can gain wisdom from other people who have gained wisdom themselves. For example, we can read books, go to seminars, and even be coached by people that have already gained wisdom in certain areas. While these are great ways to pass on wisdom and learn how to handle various situations, it still doesn’t answer the questions about the actual source of wisdom. Just because someone is passing on wisdom to you doesn’t mean that they’re the creator of that idea.
Wisdom still needs a source. It needs an ultimate beginning point, and it needs to come from a source that understands our world and our thoughts even better than we do. No matter how special we think we are, we still have difficulty understanding ourselves at times. Therefore the source of true wisdom must be someone that understands us better than we understand ourselves. So, what about our Creator?
The Source of Wisdom
Psalms 111:10 says that, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all those who practice it have a good understanding.” When the psalmist here says “the fear of the Lord” he’s talking about a respect and an honor for God and His principles. In fact the root of the word fear is phobia, which literally means respect. When you have a phobia of spiders, you have a respect for what they can do and you want to avoid them as a result. So this idea begins with the statement that wisdom has it’s beginning (or source) in a respect for God and His ways.
The statement continues by saying that, “all those who practice it (respect of God and His ways) [will] have a good understanding.” When I read this, it seems clear that if we were to study God’s Word (as a means of understanding Him, His character, and His ways), then we will have wisdom and understanding. It’s through God’s Word that we learn how to make better decisions.
There are a lot of competing ideas out there about how things should be done. As you may have read in earlier posts, I’m even learning competing ideologies about how to manage people. While as a whole I believe that these ideas (behaviorism, self-actualization, etc.) are wrong, they typically still carry an element of Truth to them. The reason that I dismiss them so quickly is because they aren’t complete. So, if I want to get True Wisdom, then I need to go to the source of Wisdom, and that’s the Bible.
So think about what you believe in, and what the source of it is.
- Why do you make the decisions that you make?
- What foundation is your wisdom based on?
- Are you basing your decisions on incomplete or incorrect worldly foundations, or are you basing it on the source?
I’m going to begin posting wisdom straight from the Word of God, starting with the Proverbs, and then moving into some character studies of the judges and kings of the Old Testament. The Proverbs alone are written by the “wisest man” to ever walk the face of the earth, and there is much that we can learn from the experiences (good and bad) of the historical leaders of Israel. Get ready for this deep dive, and expect to build your wisdom directly from the source!
See more from the management by God series!