Wisdom Is Just Thinking Before Acting.
Welcome back to Mid-Week Meditations , Lifehacker’s weekly dip in the pool of stoic wisdom and a guide to using its waters to meditate and improve your life.
The choice this week belongs to Heraclitus of Ephesus , a Greek philosopher sometimes called the “Unknown” or “Weeping Philosopher” who lived from about 535 BC. to 475 BC He suggests that wisdom is easier to attain than you might think:
“For to be wise is only one thing – to focus on your mind, which directs everything everywhere.”
Heraclitus of Ephesus, Lives of Outstanding Philosophers, 9.1
What does it mean
What Heraclitus is saying here is quite simple: if you want to be wise, listen to the intelligent and intelligent parts of your mind, not the emotional, animal parts. After all, it is the mind and intelligence that govern our universe and direct us along the best path, and not our impulses.
What to take from there
“Oh, how did you manage to become so wise?” you can ask a wise person, and they will say that wisdom is not a superpower bestowed on the lucky.
Again, the takeaway here is simple: don’t do or say things until you have time to think about them. Will your actions benefit you or others? Are your words worth being heard , or are they empty syllables drowning out other voices of reason? What will be the consequences? Are you ready to take responsibility?
Wisdom often comes with experience, yes, but much of the experience mentioned teaches you to avoid what you might have avoided in the first place. You don’t have to make mistakes to learn how to avoid them. If you want to be wise, stop, listen to your thoughts and think before continuing. Not every little thing in your day-to-day life may require this kind of thinking – there is no need to make a list of pros and cons for everything – but thinking and listening to your reason before you act will rarely hurt you in the long run. There is wisdom, friends. Choose to take this.