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The 4 wisdom sentences (and the people who won’t utter them)

July 18, 2012

I’ve had a few conversations lately with people who tell me they have all the answers. That when it comes to asking questions, seeking counsel, getting guidance – that’s not for the likes of them. You see, they have all the answers. At first glance it might seem that people with all the answers would inspire me. Not so. They make me sad. 

They make me sad because they’ve lost hope that there is something left to discover, from a nuance to a whopping realization. They’ve lost that beauty of beauties – curiosity (and its subsequent exploration and learning) – that lights up our lives like the first dawning of sunrise.  That light guides us to our potential.

Human potential is an unending source of fascination for me. I believe every single being on the planet is here for a reason and has unique gifts and talents to offer.  Perhaps the reason this knowing-it-all bothers me is that it is anathema to potential.

Here’s the rub:

When you know it all you shut down. You don’t ask.

When you don’t ask, you don’t grow.

When you don’t grow you aren’t striving to your potential and your ability to contribute you to the world. 

Here’s what a successful life looks like to me:

  1. Struggle with something that matters to you.
  2. Gain a bit of wisdom.
  3. Notice something that lights a spark of interest in you, struggle to learn, grow with and explore it.
  4. Gain a bit of wisdom.
  5. Repeat until you die.

I’ve come across what I call the wisdom sentences* – 4 sentences to utter regularly in our unending quest for our wisdom and potential.

  1. I don’t know.
  2. I need help.
  3. I’m sorry.
  4. I was wrong.

With Wisegate, I don’t know that we have much to offer with the “I’m sorry” and the “I was wrong” sentences. Other than perhaps having to say those less frequently to your boss because you have better information to make decisions and won’t mess up as much. But then I’m advocating for saying those sentences less…Hmmm… let me stick to the point here.

At Wisegate we help people gain wisdom from tapping into the collective experience of expert peers. Every day our members tell us how much help they are getting and that they can’t this anywhere else. For them to get the help that is so, well, helpful, they must first be willing to say – I don’t know (all the answers) and I need help (so I am going to ask some questions.)

The Wisegate members inspire me because they are willing to ask for help and in doing so, they open doors, they learn, they experience excitement and encouragement and they become better. Not just at their jobs, but at living.

Try the 4 wisdom sentences. See if you don’t feel like a kid again. 


*Louise Penny

6 Comments leave one →
  1. David Fitzgerald permalink
    July 24, 2012 6:10 am

    I have been following blog for several years, and continue to find it very clear and refreshing. I especially remember “the Need for brakes”.
    Keep it Up!


  2. Andrew permalink
    September 13, 2012 6:58 pm

    Whenever the aloneness gets to you, when you feel like an annonymous drop of water in a vast ocean, remember that I’m part of the same ocean. I may not be adjacent, but I’m always there. Peace and love,


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  4. June 14, 2013 11:01 pm

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  5. June 19, 2013 2:50 pm

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  6. May 20, 2014 12:09 pm

    You’re missing step 4.5: unselfishly share the wisdom you’ve just gained. 🙂

    It’s human nature to share knowledge, prepare the next generation* for success and survival, improve the collective knowledge.

    * not just measured in years or age, could include technical maturity level, etc

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