Allison Vesterfelt in her book Packing Light, writes about wisdom in a way that one of my favorite authors, Paul Jun, writes about self awareness. On wisdom Vesterfelt writes, “I think that’s what wisdom is— the ability to zoom out from where we’re standing and see the larger picture.” This idea of wisdom aligns perfectly with Paul Jun’s metaphor for self awareness. Jun writes that our focus is like a flashlight, and whatever we focus our mental attention on is illuminated. The more we focus on one thing the more clear it becomes, but also, the more we dial in on one thing, the more we don’t see around us. Becoming self aware is the process of taking that flashlight and stepping backwards. We turn our focus on our entire lives, and allow the flashlight to illuminate a grater sphere of our lives.
I love calling wisdom and self awareness the same thing. By allowing ourselves to recognize our feelings, and then take a step back to look at our interactions with the world and those around us we are able to better understand our emotions and reactions. The more we step back and spend time evaluating what is happening around us, the more we are able to connect the dots and understand not just our reactions and emotions, but the decisions and ideas of others as well.
This whole process can be called wisdom because instead of seeing the world through the narrow band of our flashlight, we eventually can reach a point where we have a floodlight illuminating everything around us and helping us connect new dots in new places.
Paul Jun is the author of the book Connect the Dots and has a fantastic blog at Motivatedmastery.com