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 � and therefore wisdom � comes from building links

To build more links, we need more nodes � 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 � suck up as many different influences and ideas as you can.

Connections and Nodes

Going against Orthodoxy

Where this takes me is to a radical rejection of one of the orthodoxies of professional life: that of niche focus. �Narrow is deep� is an easy equation to make, but it is flawed.

Philip Tetlock�s 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 Tetlock�s insightful research in a future article.

So, my conclusion is this:

If you�re stuck in a niche, you�ll get stuck at smart.

If you�re stuck in a niche, it�s time to dig yourself out of it and expand your horizons.

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