Wisdom at Work – Join Our #MTtalk » Mind Tools Blog
wisdom at work

Wisdom at Work – Join Our #MTtalk

May 8, 2018

Please Join Us!

What: #MTtalk
Where: Twitter
When: Friday, May 11, 1 p.m. EDT (6 p.m. BST / 10:30 p.m. IST)
Topic: Wisdom at Work
Host: @Mind_Tools

“Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.”
– Rumi, 13th Century Persian Poet

About This Week’s Chat: Out of the Mouths of Babes…

Wisdom is a beautiful and precious thing. It touches your life in such a way that it can change how you think. And how special is it to hear it from a child?

A few years ago, I was enjoying a sunny winter walk with my neighbor, Zina, and her five-year-old daughter.

Zina and I were on our way to vote in the municipal election. But, when we got to the voting station, I discovered that I was registered at a different one, about two kilometres away.

After Zina voted, we walked to my voting station, and when her daughter, Ada, got tired we took turns to piggyback her. Ada is a very observant child, and a real little chatterbox, too!

Ada and I like to talk, but I’m always conscious of what I talk about with her. Children are impressionable and I want them to hear “good stuff” from me. Rather than talk about television programs, I talk to them about books, tell stories, or ask them to tell me a story.

When we were almost home, Ada asked me, “Do you know what friendship means?”

“Well, I think I do,” I replied, and tried to explain how I understand it.

She responded with an unenthusiastic, “Hmmm….” She clearly didn’t think I was explaining it very well, and asked, “But do you know what it is?”

“Why don’t you tell me?” I said.

Her reply was the most beautiful definition of friendship that I have ever heard. She said, “It’s when your heart is in my heart, and my heart is in your heart.”

That day is etched in my memory, not as a particularly important election day (which it turned out to be), but as the day that a five-year-old taught me a wonderful moment of wisdom.

The Anatomy of Wisdom

Wikipedia describes wisdom as, “The ability to think and act using knowledge, experience, understanding, common sense, and insight, especially in a mature or utilitarian manner.”

Any element in this list is useful on its own: knowledge helps to expand your perspectives; experience helps you to learn how to do things differently in future; understanding gives you empathy; common sense helps you to be practical; and insight helps you to make meaning of life events. Combine all of that, and the result is wisdom.

Wisdom can come from unlikely people, at times you least expect it. Wisdom is humble, open and honest. It doesn’t serve a selfish purpose, and it works towards the greater good. A wise word can stop you in your tracks and prompt you to re-examine your beliefs and behavior.

The beauty of wisdom is that it’s not exclusive to a certain group of people with a certain education or standing in the community. Wisdom can be found all around us, if we’re open to listening and learning.

Wisdom at Work

There are many elements that contribute to a person’s wisdom. In our Twitter poll this week, we asked which element you think is the most important. More than a third of participants felt it was “listening deeply,” while a quarter voted for “being a good observer.” Click here to view all the options and the results.

In Friday’s #MTtalk chat, we’re going to talk about wisdom at work. We’d love you to participate in the chat, and the following questions may spark some thoughts in preparation for it:

  • What is wisdom?
  • What characteristics do you associate with wisdom?
  • Why might there be a lack of wisdom in the workplace?
  • What are the consequences of a lack of wisdom?
  • What difference does a wise person make at work?
  • Who is the wisest person you know and what have you learned from him or her?


To help you prepare for the chat, we’ve compiled a list of resources for you to browse.

Building Great Work Relationships
The Talisman of Leadership: Authenticity
6 Traits of a True Professional Video
Mindful Listening
Empathy at Work
Questioning Techniques
8 Ways to Improve Your Powers of Observation Video
The Ladder of Inference

How to Join

Follow us on Twitter to make sure you don’t miss out on any of the action this Friday! We’ll be tweeting out 10 questions during our hour-long chat. To participate in the chat, type #MTtalk in the Twitter search function. Then, click on “All Tweets” and you’ll be able to follow the live chat feed. You can join the chat by using the hashtag #MTtalk in your responses.

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