If I knew then what I know now! Who has not uttered that exclamation at least once, and probably many more times than that? I sure have.
Fortunately, as a very young adult I came to realize a person’s wisdom usually increases with age. That was Important Lesson Number One. Important Lesson Number Two was the realization that not everyone’s wisdom correlated with chronology. That helped me to take a much more realistic view of people. Just because a person is old does not automatically translate to wisdom and just because a person is young does not automatically translate to a lack of wisdom, because everyone is different.
As important as those two lessons were and still are to me, my biggest motivation occurred early in life when I learned Important Lesson Number Three. That lesson states if you understand the first two lessons you can do some things to gain wisdom faster. I call this bridging the wisdom-age gap. The wisdom-age gap is that wisdom differential between how wise you are at one age versus how much wiser you would be at an older age.
Important Lesson Number Three means I can intentionally focus my energies on actively searching for ways to improve who I am and how I operate. The goal is to acquire wisdom beyond my years. Why wouldn’t anyone want that? Sadly, some folks do not want that. It reminds me of a saying I once heard:
“Life is tough. But it’s even tougher if you’re stupid.”
How different might some of our businesses be today if every single decision that was made was made with an intrinsic desire to bridge the wisdom-age gap? How much better might our professional and personal lives be today, if prior decisions were made with an attempt to bridge the wisdom-age gap? How much better off might we all be if every decision we ever made was made with the long-term effect in mind instead of just the short-term effect? What can we do to bridge the wisdom-age gap? These are questions worthy of reflection.
As for me, I have been reflecting a very long time—and I don’t plan to be done any time soon.