Decision Making and Wisdom

Self-ImprovementGoal Setting

  • Author Farah Nabilah Binti Abdul Ghani
  • Published July 3, 2021
  • Word count 884

From the tiny and mundane, such as what to wear or eat, to the life-changing, such as who to marry and to whom, what job to take and how to raise our children, our lives are packed with them. Decision, decision! There are hundreds of decisions we make every day. Nearly every decision that we make includes anticipating the future. Decision making is a pervasive part of people’s lives. Older adults often work in prominent positions and face numerous important personal decisions, such as which retirement options to select, how to spend their life savings, and how to best live out the remaining years of their lives. Likewise, younger adults must choose which career path to take, which college to attend, and when to buy a house. We imagine how the implications of our decisions would make us feel in each situation, and what the emotional effects of our actions will be. Sensibly, we generally plump for the alternative that we assume would make us the happiest overall. Yet sometimes we make bad decisions that leave us unhappy or full of regret.

We are where we are today because of the decisions we have made in the past. The choices we are making today will determine where we will be tomorrow. To say that learning to make wise decisions is very important would be an understatement. It is priceless. Our very life, calling, leadership, success, and fulfilment in life all depend on the decisions we make. On top of that, great decisions are made with filters. Decision-making filters have specific ingredients such as values, facts, and submission to the truth in the context of one’s values, and most importantly, wisdom. The question is, what is meant by wisdom and why is it important in decision making?

According to Oxford Dictionary, wisdom is the quality of having experience, knowledge, and good judgement; the quality of being wise. A wise person is more likely to look back on their lives and say that everything that happens in their lives was for the best, would fully acknowledge mistakes and losses, and still try to improve. According to Journal of Personality by Paul Wink and Ursula M. Staudinger, true personal wisdom involves five elements which are, they are self-vision; able to demonstrate self-development; alertness in terms of historical era and family history; understanding that priorities and values, including our own, are not absolute; and an awareness of life’s ambiguities. To add, wise people always try to understand situations from multiple perspectives, not just their own, and they show tolerance as a result and this kind of personality is often linked with the elders.

When asked about wisdom, many laymen would equate it with advanced age. We do not usually imagine youth when we imagine a wise person. It is possible that wisdom was indeed closely linked to age in ancient societies, where tradition ruled over change and where arriving at old age was itself an relationship between age and wisdom is bound achievement. Yet, like much of everything else the to be more complicated today. Indeed, by and large, the literature of psychological research challenges the idea that age generates wisdom. It has been shown that with age, cognitive functions appear to slow down, but the slowdown has also been shown to be due to cumulative information stored in the brain. As for reflection: experiences doubtlessly come with age. The more things you have to look back at and learn from, the more you understand theoretically about a situation. Subsequently, having this deeper understanding helps you to empathize more with others.

According to a journal article titled ‘The wisdom of experience: Autobiographical narratives across adulthood’ by GlüCk, Bluck, Baron, and Mcadams, it may be that people of all ages can be wise, but when a person's view of time changes, so too does wisdom. A young person, for example, may show wisdom in choosing a profession, but that person does so with the sense of an infinite future ahead of them. On the other hand, an older person will show a certain kind of wisdom in making a decision, recognizing that time is more limited, because he or she knows that time is ticking For Monika Ardelt, a professor of sociology at the University of Florida, wisdom exists only to the extent that wise people exist. Wisdom, in her definition, can grow with age, but it does not do so automatically; rather, it grows for those who seek it and invest in nurturing it.

Indeed, it is a well-known fact that experience is the best teacher, and as you age you may be closer to the “wisdom” word. Nevertheless, wisdom might seem far away from someone who does not seek and does not invest in cultivating the experiences to grow. An Irish poet, Oscar Wilde once said, “With age comes wisdom, but sometimes age comes alone”. As humans, we are susceptible to make mistakes. One mistake does not dictate the rest of your life. Mistakes simply mean improving and being stronger. One of the best things you can do is rebound from a mistake. You must fail occasionally to rise back up like a wave with renewed strength and wisdom.

Farah Nabilah Binti Abdul Ghani

Faculty of Science and Technology

Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia

Farah Nabilah Binti Abdul Ghani

Faculty of Science and Technology

Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia

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