A recent article in the Economist used a complex, but somewhat small in scope, survey to study wisdom. They found that Americans definitely get smarter with age. They scored 45 points at age 25, and 55 by age 75.
In comparison, the Japanese learn wisdom much quicker, scoring 51 in both age groups.
This led to the byline – Americans get wiser with age. Japanese are wise from the start.
Very interesting and thoughtful, but I found it more inspiring to look at how they judged wisdom.
The assessors scored participants’ responses on a scale of one to three. This attempted to capture the degree to which they discussed what psychologists consider five crucial aspects of wise reasoning:
- Willingness to seek opportunities to resolve conflict;
- Willingness to search for compromise;
- Recognition of the limits of personal knowledge;
- Awareness that more than one perspective on a problem can exist;
- Appreciation of the fact that things may get worse before they get better.
Basically, how good of a – diplomat/negotiator/self-aware/empathetic/realist – are you?
// Thx to Kirby Plessas