Wisdom is different from intellect, intellect is learned, you can read books or go to school to gain intellect, but wisdom is different altogether. Wisdom is garnered from experiences, sometimes good experiences, but more often bad experiences lend to the growth of genuine wisdom. When you experience something traumatic, saddening, you face loss, you make mistakes, you struggle to survive; you grow from these things and learn lessons that no book can impart.
Any suffering without learning from it is a waste of personal growth, any struggle without growth is a genuine tragedy. Even if you’ve learned nothing more than that you would do anything for that experience to not happen again, you’ve learned a tidbit of wisdom. Wisdom can empower us through further trials and tribulations, it can give us strength and hope to push onward and upward through it all and to achieve great things.
The best part of having learned wisdom is being able to share it with those we love to help them avoid the same pitfalls and issues that led to accruing the wisdom. This unto itself can end so much suffering in the lives of future generations and can help lift them out of suffering, despair, and unnecessary pains.
We garner the wisdom to move on, to avoid allowing past incidents to happen again, to find hope, and to do and be better individuals. I struggled in my past; I struggled with identity, I struggled with anger, I struggled to find purpose, to fit in with others, I struggled with trying to find the root causes of society’s ills and this led me to make some horrible mistakes and caused me greater struggle. From those struggles, I because the person I am today, a pacifist, someone who loves everyone and sees reflections of myself in each person I meet. The struggles in my past lead me to want to help alleviate others suffering, to bring light to the world, to educate others stuck within the struggles I once faced, and to help lift them out from that well of hatred and despair.
Everything I write, the countless interviews I’ve given, the speeches, the lectures, talking with others who might help to educate more… repairing the world (Tikkun Olam) that is my mission, my life’s work today. All that I am today, I owe to the struggles, the hardships of my past, and all that I do today, the current struggles of combating hate and extremism, is owed to my past struggles as well. Through all of the pain, violence, hate, and indoctrination; I garnered the wisdom to change and do and be better, for everyone.
Wisdom does not always come with age, it comes from struggle, adversity, learned experiences which alter perceptions and change the individual in a profound way. Wisdom is growth, wisdom is change, wisdom is experienced… Learn from everything, good and bad, and even the darkest times in one’s life becomes a gift!