I've been thinking a lot about wisdom and what exactly the word means lately. Clearly, every one I know would claim that they would like to be wise. However, putting some handles on wisdom seems to be a lot more difficult. As I have thought about it, I have come up with my simple, working definition for wisdom. It actually comes in two parts.
1. Wisdom is the ability to see the relationship between choices and consequences.
In other words, people that are wise have a better understanding of what consequences certain choices will bring. If I plant corn (and provide the proper care), corn will grow. If I say this, this will be the consequence. As I talk to people, one of the things that surprises me the most often is their inability to see what consequence is going to follow if the continue to pursue a certain course of action.
2. Wisdom is making the right choice in light of what the consequence will be.
In other words, it's not just enough to see the correlation between actions and the consequences they will bring, truly wise people make the right choices in light of that ability. It is possible to see and understand the correlation and still make the wrong choice. Wise people don't just see what the right choice would be, they make the right choice.