Where does wisdom come from?
My answer to this is that wisdom is the compound of great understanding of the world, and applying that knowledge well. So a keystone process in acquiring wisdom is learning. We learn when we connect two different pieces of information together: perhaps when we find you something new and can link it to something we already know, or perhaps when an experience leads us to make a novel connection between two things we already knew.
Learning ï¿½ and therefore wisdom ï¿½ comes from building links
To build more links, we need more nodes ï¿½ the nodes of knowledge or understanding that we can connect up. Wisdom arises from a wealth of different information, ideas and influences. So my watch-word is eclecticism ï¿½ suck up as many different influences and ideas as you can.
Going against Orthodoxy
Where this takes me is to a radical rejection of one of the orthodoxies of professional life: that of niche focus. ï¿½Narrow is deepï¿½ is an easy equation to make, but it is flawed.
Philip Tetlockï¿½s research shows us that deep experts are barely better predictors than non-experts, even in their domain of expertise. Those who do well are those with the widest range of expertise. I will have more to say about Tetlockï¿½s insightful research in a future article.
So, my conclusion is this:
If youï¿½re stuck in a niche, youï¿½ll get stuck at smart.
If youï¿½re stuck in a niche, itï¿½s time to dig yourself out of it and expand your horizons.