Five Ways of Finding Wisdom at Any Age

Adrienne Juardo from "Experience Life Fully," is our guest today. On her Twitter page, she reveals, "I'm a wisdom seeker out to Experience Life Fully! I love family, friends, sharing stories, yoga, traveling, hiking, blogging, learning, and having adventures!

What is wisdom really? What does it mean to say someone is wise? Most importantly, why is it important to discover wisdom sooner rather than later in life?

In one of her recent posts, Tess described me as “an old soul.” While this was incredibly flattering, I have to admit it was’t the first time I’ve heard this, or something similar over the past few years.

“An old soul” is someone considered to be “wise beyond their years.” Now, I am in no way claiming to actually be wise beyond my years, but I think I am beginning to understand why others sometimes see me this way.

It may have something to with the fact that I’ve spent the past few years pouring my heart and mind into actively seeking wisdom. So, “old soul?” Maybe. Wisdom-seeker? Definitely. When I say I am seeking wisdom, I am really striving to make sense of the world and my place in it. I am seeking to discover what really matters and how to make it a priority in my everyday life.

“Wisdom is the capacity to discern what really matters and to incorporate it into your life.” ~ John Izzo

Many people see wisdom as something that only comes with experience and old age, but I believe wisdom can be found at practically any age.

Why should we wait until the majority of our lives are behind us to discover what really matters and to align our lives accordingly? Why should we wait until our waning years to discover purpose and meaning and to embrace living life fully?

That is why I have decided to discover what is most important in life and to live it NOW.

I do this this in a number of ways. I constantly read books and blogs about other people’s experiences and philosophies. I absorb their discoveries about the world, human behavior, and tips for living well.

I pay attention to how others are integrating these practices into their lives and I try to do the same. I constantly evaluate what I’m doing and how well it’s working. Once I feel like I’m on the right path, I try to share that knowledge with others so that we can learn and grow together.

I have made so many ridiculous mistakes along the way, but I try to learn from my mistakes and use those experiences to guide me back to the right path. I remind myself that each day is a new opportunity to learn and grow.

It’s never too soon, or too late, to discover what really matters in life.

Five Ways of Finding Wisdom at Any Age

1. Read.
The greatest thing about true wisdom is that it isn’t really new. The ways of living well – making a valuable contribution while you are here, finding happiness, purpose, and meaning – these are not secrets at all.

The great sages, philosophers, gurus, and wise men and women of the ages have been discovering and sharing this knowledge for thousands of years. To tap into some of the greatest sources of wisdom, you have only to pick up a book and start reading.

2. Observe.
One of the best ways to discover wisdom is to observe those you consider to be especially wise. What do they value? How do they interact with others?

What practices do they routinely apply to their lives? But don’t just observe. Talk to the wise people in your lives. Ask about their experiences and they way they live their lives. Most importantly, truly listen to them.

3. Experiment.
As children, we naturally learn through observing others and imitating what they do. Notice what works well for others and go try it. This is where you take what you have learned through reading and observing and you incorporate it into your own life.

Choose one new bit of wisdom to focus on. Make it a part of your everyday thoughts and behavior until it becomes a part of who you are.

4. Reflect.
As you know, experiments often fail. Remember Thomas Edison and the light bulb? It took him a countless number of tries to finally get it right. Each time he failed, he asked himself, why didn’t this work? What can I try differently?

It was this process of applying knowledge, experimenting, and reflecting that finally led to success. If something isn’t working in your life, take the time to really dig deeper and to reflect on why it’s not working and how you can change it.

5. Teach. You know how they say the best way to learn something is to teach it? Well it’s true! Teaching someone what works for you can help you get even clearer about that process. When someone asks you questions, it forces you to truly understand what you are teaching. It helps to further ingrain that wisdom into your mind, and will hopefully encourage the cycle to continue!

In what ways have you found wisdom in your life? How are you discovering what really matters and incorporating it into your life?

Photo credit: tibchris

{ 25 comments… add one }

  • Hilary March 21, 2011, 12:45 am

    Hi Tess .. loved your post over at Write to Done .. and now some more soul wisdom here from Adrienne .. those 5 tips are excellent .. and I’d add don’t waste time and learn .. from learning we learn many disciplines that help in so many other ways .. and we become wiser …

    Great joint posts .. thanks so much .. cheers & live life which you both do so well .. Hilary

    • Adrienne | Experience Life Fully March 21, 2011, 4:50 pm

      Hi Hilary…Yes, learning is what it’s all about! I would say that all of these paths to wisdom fall under the broader umbrella of “learning,” as there are so many ways to learn and grow.

    • Tess March 23, 2011, 5:50 pm

      Thanks for your support and kind words. I appreciate you.

  • Satisfyingretirement March 21, 2011, 8:13 am

    The most important way to wisdom in my life is to realize I am an expert of nothing. Everybody and everything can teach me something. Admitting that I need constant input is not the easiest thing to accept but absolutely essential to growth.

    • Adrienne March 21, 2011, 4:55 pm

      That is a beautiful philosophy…and you are in good company!!

      “I am the wisest man alive, for I know one thing, and that is that I know nothing.” ~ Socrates

    • Tess March 23, 2011, 5:50 pm

      Love that wisdom you shared and it’s so true. Just keep learning!

  • Lauren @The Mad To Live March 21, 2011, 8:37 am

    Hey Adrienne!
    This was a wonderful post! My favorite is definitely observe. Well, I love all of them, but I LOVE to observe.
    Its when you sit and reflect and you FEEL that you start to understand things. It’ when you’re sitting on a train or a bus and you’re just staring out the window thinking and seeing and pondering that you start to realize things and life just seems to naturally come together, ya know?

    Thanks for sharing this Adrienne! I think I’m going to make a point to do a little bit more observing today.
    Cuz hey, “life is short, if you don’t stop and look around every once in awhile, you could miss it.”

    • Adrienne March 21, 2011, 5:02 pm

      Hi Lauren,

      Yes, I gathered from your “story” post that you are quite the “observer!” I know exactly what you mean about reflecting and feeling. I think that is part of what makes spending some time alone so valuable. Whether it’s traveling, walking through the woods, or sitting at home in quiet meditation. The world has incredible things to tell us when we quiet ourselves long enough to really pay attention and listen. And yes, our time is limited, and there are no guarantees about tomorrow.

    • Tess March 23, 2011, 5:51 pm

      Yes observe, I used to talk too much now I’m more into observing! Thanks for coming by.

  • Lance March 21, 2011, 11:14 am

    I love the depth of message that Adrienne shares in all the deeper thoughts she delves into…so seeing her here today, it’s a real treat!

    Wisdom-seeker…mmm…you are!!! That has always shone through, and it touches upon your soul…and this journey you’re on.

    I can very much connect to this list you’ve shared today – especially, right now, to the idea of “experimentation”. I feel like I’m deep into this stage right now (on a few different ideas). The key, for me – is – when I’m experimenting – being aware of what comes from all of this (i.e. what have I learned, what new directions does it lead me in, how can I apply this to whatever next steps I take, etc). (and I suppose a lot of that awareness is step 4: reflection…)

    Adrienne, may you continue to be a seeker of wisdom, especially that which touches to your soul…

    • Adrienne March 21, 2011, 5:06 pm

      Hi Lance! Here you are, bringing a smile to my face as usual! Isn’t Tess wonderful for allowing me to share this space with her?

      I think your “pause” is working its magic already…giving you time and space for experimenting and reflecting. I’m really looking forward to seeing how this will all unfold in your “next steps.”

    • Tess March 23, 2011, 5:53 pm

      Hi Lance,
      Yes like Adrienne I can’t wait to see all the fun and new stuff you’re up too…
      woot woot!

  • Aileen | Kaizen Vision March 21, 2011, 12:48 pm

    What a wonderful guest post to have here Tess.

    Adrienne, I enjoy your wisdom “It’s never too soon, or too late, to discover what really matters in life.”

    • Adrienne March 21, 2011, 5:12 pm

      Thank you, Aileen! As Tess is one of the wisest women I’ve had the pleasure of coming across, I couldn’t think of a better space to share these ideas!

  • Belinda March 21, 2011, 2:38 pm

    What a delightful read, Tess and Adrienne. I so appreciate seeing Reflect on your list because it’s something that has been a constant companion of mine lately. Through reflection, it’s possible to not just learn from our mistakes (and not just on a personal level but on the whole, how we’ve behaved as a society historically); but to also see the bigger picture and grasp how truly interconnected things are. This post makes me hopeful for the future.

    • Adrienne March 21, 2011, 5:17 pm

      Hi Belinda,

      You are definitely ‘singing my song’ when it comes to the interconnectedness of things! This is something I am deeply aware of and strive to remain just as deeply connected to. I see no point in seeking wisdom just for ourselves…the purpose, at least for me, is so that I may share it with others and use it to make a valuable contribution while I am here. Your words also make me hopeful for the future!

  • Sandra / Always Well Within March 21, 2011, 6:19 pm


    I am so inspired by your dedication to wisdom. You’ve made an incredibly important point. There’s no reason to wait to old age for wisdom! You can find it right hear and right now. You will benefit and so will the world around you. Wisdom is the key to happiness.

    Your 5 ways to find wisdom are excellent. I have found wisdom by following and learning from great spiritual masters. I find it so sad that some people these days feel they don’t need a spiritual teacher. Well, maybe they don’t. But there can be so many pitfalls on the spiritual path, it doesn’t hurt at all to have a guide that knows the way. Yes, the answers are within but often we need a mirror to reflect that back to us.

    I find #3 reflection also very important. Reflection is a lost art. We want to go, go, go and do, do, do. Intellectual investigation and letting our insights sink in deeply in a non-coneptual way is an important part of personal growth.

    Thanks for sharing your wisdom, Adrienne. You are a vibrant soul! So happy to be walking alongside you.

  • Angela Artemis March 21, 2011, 6:32 pm

    Hi Tess & Adrienne,
    I really enjoyed this post. Finding wisdom is really important. We can be educated and smart, but being wise certainly trumps all of them.

  • Little Lessons Under the Big Sky March 21, 2011, 7:33 pm

    I always enjoy reading your posts, Tess, and am delighted to read Adrienne’s words today.

    I find the list of five to be so relevant to my own journey of learning, and processing how to become more “wise.” One of my other goals is to LISTEN, really LISTEN to the wonderful elderly family members in my own life, who’s long, sometimes painful experiences are such a reflection and reminder of what is important in our busy society.

    Thanks so much for sharing your insights!

  • Karl Staib - Work Happy Now March 22, 2011, 8:58 am

    Experimenting is hard for me. I know I need to do it, but embracing it is scary. It’s the little voice inside my head that I like to call my “arch nemesis” because we are usually our own worst enemy.

    We need to move toward the fear. It’s the only way we can grow professionally and personally.

  • Evita March 22, 2011, 6:56 pm

    Hello Tess and Adrienne!

    Adrienne what a right on message!
    Your article reminds me of how often people sit back and complain about this or that in their life or about themselves, instead of taking action and taking accountability whether it be for their own happiness or wisdom.

    Yes, read!!! And read lots of non-fiction – anything to stimulate the brain, to step outside of comfort zones and to expand to new horizons! Well, I love all your tips (I love the scientist at heart hiding in there) and loving the world when we begin to expand our view of it!

    So yes, let us ask questions, let us not be afraid to question all that we think and believe. Let us observe more, much more than we conclude or judge. Let us open ourselves up to a whole new world which offers us so much, especially today, and in turn develop our wisdom in ways we could not have previously imagined!

    Thank you Tess for an outstanding guest!

  • Betsy at Zen Mama March 23, 2011, 7:25 am

    Loved what Adrienne had to say about wisdom. I’ll go and check out her website. It looks right up my alley!

  • Peggy Nolan March 24, 2011, 11:55 am

    Hi Tess and Adrienne!

    Great article on wisdom and I so love the first tip – to READ! I’ve devoured books by others who have been there, done that, made the mistakes, and got back up.

    My wisdom path includes making mistakes…and not being afraid to make a mistake. I used to think I had to be perfect right from the start…only to find out that kind of thinking keeps life rather sterile and artificial.

    One of my favorite wise sayings, “Always make new mistakes…”

    Thank you for your wisdom!!

  • John Sherry March 25, 2011, 5:09 am

    It’s true that wisdom is all around us an forever available force if we take time and space to listen and witness it because it stems from life experience which every age gets every single day. The key is to stop flying at helter skelter speed through life and slow down enough to smell the roses wisdom is trying to bring whether it’s in happiness or hurt. So I love this post Adrienne because it breaks the mould tha wisdom is for the old.

  • pat February 7, 2012, 9:42 pm

    And as we all know the best and surest way to happiness is financial security. What better way is there than to write another self-help book!


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