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Smart or wise?

GAYS MILLS - I’m a little bit intrigued by the difference between smart and wise. Being smart, or intelligent, is not the same as being wise. The native intelligence(s) or “smartnesses” that we are born with vary quite a bit from person to person due to genetics, heredity, and the luck of the draw. Every person has built-in strengths and aptitudes unique to themselves.  It takes quite a while (years) to figure out just what gifts we have to work with and what to do with them.

Wisdom is said to come with age. We assume that the older we get the wiser we get as a result of just being alive, experiencing things, making mistakes, and developing wisdom.  A well known saying, attributed to Terry Pratchett, sums it up this way: “Wisdom comes from experience. Experience is often the result of lack of wisdom.”

There are many different kinds of wisdom. I have a mechanical friend, no, make that a mechanically minded friend, who is just a whiz at fixing cars. You can just about hear the synapses firing as he sleuths out a problem with a car. I consider him to be a doctor of cars and like all good doctors he knows what to look for, how to troubleshoot and diagnose what might be wrong with a car’s engine. And one great thing about this friend that I really appreciate is that he is generous with sharing his well-earned car wisdom with anyone who’s interested. From him, I’ve learned to be patient, thoughtful, and at times stubborn in working on a car. 

Here are a couple of stories that relate to developing wisdom.

An old Cherokee chief was teaching his grandson about life…

“A fight is going on inside me,” he told the boy. “It’s a terrible fight and it’s between two wolves. One wolf is evil. He is anger, envy, sorrow, greed, arrogance, self-pity, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, self-doubt, and ego. The other wolf is good - he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. This same fight is going on inside you - and inside every other person, too.”

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?”

The old chief simply replied, “The one you feed.”

Once upon a time there was an old farmer who had worked his farm for many years with his horse. One day, his horse ran away. Upon hearing the news, his neighbors came to visit. “Such bad luck,” they said sympathetically.

“Perhaps,” the farmer replied.

The next morning the horse returned, bringing with it three other wild horses. “What great luck!” the neighbors exclaimed.

“Perhaps,” replied the old man.

The following day, his son tried to ride one of the untamed horses, was thrown, and broke his leg. The neighbors came again to offer their sympathy on his misfortune.

“Perhaps,” answered the farmer.

A few days later, military officials came to the village to draft young men into the army. Seeing that the son’s leg was broken, they passed him by. The neighbors congratulated the farmer on how well things had turned out.

“Perhaps,” said the farmer…