How do Wisdom and Selling go together?

Welcome to Wisdom Selling. So if you are like me, you are always wanting to learn more. Well here is the deal about selling. It is the desire to exchange something you have, for something of more value to you. You may have an idea, a product, a service which people will want to pay for, allowing you to make a profit. You have to seek out people who might want it, and convince them it is worth the price you are charging. Or like me, you may just have a little wisdom, and are looking for someone who values it enough to want to use it. My value received in return is the joy of your feedback. So, I am selling wisdom. The cost to you, your interest. I want to help others as well. Visit the links page and shop for some good deals. Any profits on money you spend there will be used by Wisdom Selling to support non-profit businesses in developing their strategies.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Thoughts on Wisdom - Part 4 - What do you fear the most?

Have you ever watched one of those TV detective shows where a woman has been subject to years of abuse by her husband and then is accused of murder as a result of finally having had enough?  Most often the question at hand is "why didn't she just leave?".  Other times, you see a story about the homeless in New York, and you wonder, "why don't they just move somewhere else where they can get a job?"

Human nature is a very complex thing.  We become attuned to our current situation, and often even if it is not the greatest in the world, we stay because it is safer that the outside world.  Having just experienced five months of unemployment, I can assure you it is scary out there.  I would much rather have stayed behind my desk, happy or sad.  Why is that?  Have you ever felt that way?

The question that starts this blog post asks what we fear the most.  I believe for most of us, it is change!  In fact, doctors tell us that the more change we experience, the more likely our health is to take a hit.  Our physical, emotional and social characteristics are so set in current behavior that the new is difficult to incorporate in.

Now, think for a moment about the implications of this for wisdom.  Wisdom is not just learning something new, but acting on it in some positive way.  Otherwise it is just knowledge.  The bible, for example is full of wisdom.  However, the instructions describe the spiritual experience as being born again.  Consider the implications of this impossible statement.  As a child, we have no set behaviors.  We are open to new learnings and adapt to teachings and experiences daily.  A child will trust those who are teaching them to provide the right information and will accept it on faith, forming their world view from these teachings and experiences.

Using the above example as a basis, let's consider the possibilities for overcoming this fear of change.  They are not very high.  It requires a daily willingness to consider the new.  It is an act of the will, which will then have to war against our human nature.  Imagine the wife who is willing to consider the new, and have faith that there is something positive out there for her to experience.  Perhaps she would be more willing to leave the bad situation.

Imagine you, willing to consider something new each day.  What is there out there today that could rock your world if you would let it?  Hey, talk to a democrat or republican, whichever you are not - and be open to their point of view!  Talk to a Christian or a non-believer, and really listen to their point of view.  Talk to a teenager or a senior citizen.  At the end of the day, ask yourself:  Were you open to anything at all that was shared with you... or are you afraid?

Try it and tell me how it goes!!!!!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Thoughts on Wisdom - Part 3 - who do you fear?

This is an interesting point that Solomon and his wise co-authors make in Chapter 9 of Proverbs.  See if this resonates at all with you.  If you are not a believer in God, this won't make much sense, but read through it and see if it helps you understand better the viewpoint of a Christ Follower.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of Wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.  
For through me (Wisdom) your days will be many, and years will be added to your life.  If you are wise, your wisdom will reward you, if you are a mocker, you alone will suffer.

This has always been an encouragement to me.  See, I am a left hander.  For those of you who don't know, the life expectancy of lefties is less that that for right handers.  The world has been set up to cater to the needs of those less fortunate, who have to use their right hands for everything.  Americans switched to the right side of the road and put the gearshift for the right hand to help you out.  Rifles and Shotguns are right handed. Scissors are made for right handers.  Butter knives, chain saws, etc.  It is only a matter of time until I have an accident, trying to make my way through this ridiculous right handed world.  However, the fact that I know that the world has been designed for right handers creates in me an awareness that helps keep me safe, hopefully, as I may take a little extra time to make sure I don't hurt myself on these right handed things of life. I could complain and refuse to accept the fact that this stuff is right handed, but no one is going to change it, and if I ignore it, I will probably have a fatal accident before too long!

I hope this analogy brings into clarity the fear of the Lord point.  See, each of us has to choose a filter by which we view the world.   We are introduced to many ways of viewing the world as children, and by the time we are teenagers we often have these filters engraved in stone in our lives.  For example, many of us grew up during a time when skin color was a basis for judgement.  We learned this as children from our parents or grandparents, and by the time we reached high school, we had some ingrained thoughts.  If you are like me, it was a lot of work to change this filter and I had to really want to.  I have to filter as a lefty to make sure I compensate for backward scissors, for example.

A person will decide whether or not they believe in God based on faith and understanding.  This decision is important because it will dictate where their center of the universe is.  If there is no God in a person's life, they are by default the center of their life.  All decisions, and all values come from themselves, and they filter all of life by these internal perspectives, which can change over time due to outside influences.

When a person believes in God, they have a new center of their universe.  Now there is a new source for filters for life, and it is presented as unchanging.  There are filters that come from the bible and from a spiritual connection to God.  This connection is presented not as a connection made from fear but from love.  So why then does Solomon use the word fear?!?!   In this context, I believe the word fear is more like a respect to the point of unquestioned obedience.   What this means is that because a person believes in God, they are open to seeing the world in a new light.  They don't have to have the answer to every question all at once, because there is a trust in the unknown that it will someday be known, and that there is more time than just to earthly death to figure it out.  There is a book called the bible which is called God's Word.  The use of the term word has always been used to describe God's connection to mankind.  Jesus was referred to as the word as well.   The creation story tells of God speaking the world into existence.

So we have words from God, we have a spiritual connection, now what?  This is the cool part of what Solomon is saying.  People who have God as the center of their universe now have the keys to wisdom and understanding.  They learn through the filters that are now in place, which may be entirely different than those they had as a child or teen.  For some people this is very difficult, as the filters of their early worldview are still around to compete.  This is why it is a journey to wisdom not a snap change.  We have to unlearn and learn constantly to keep up with the journey.

Have a great day.  I hope this makes sense to those of you who don't normally read God stuff.

Thoughts on Wisdom - Part 2 - who do you share your wisdom with?

King Solomon was not the kind of person to really hold back his feelings on a subject.  You ever know a person like that?  They just lay it all out there and expect you to receive it without caring one bit whether or not you are helped or insulted.  Apparently, I am like that a bit, and have spent some time trying to repair relationships where my intentions were good, but my methods were suspect.  Like the time I told the neighbor's kids in front of their mom that someone was going to call the cops on them someday if they didn't stop pestering the little kids?  Not the best move I have ever made.  The intent was to help them put a price on negative behavior but the mom was ticked off at me for about two months.  Yikes.  In the end, they realized my intentions, but I tiptoed around for a while in the side yard.

Here is some straightforward wise advice from the 9th chapter of the Proverbs of Solomon and others.  The chapter is often subtitled, invitations of wisdom or folly.

Leave your simple ways and you will live; walk in the way of understanding.
Whoever corrects a mocker invites insult; whoever rebukes a wicked man incurs abuse.
Do not rebuke a mocker or he will hate you; rebuke a wise man and he will love you.
Instruct a wise man and he will be wiser still; teach a righteous man and he will add to his learning.

This is an interesting point of view for me, as I have always been one who goes after those who are mockers or doubters, or even wicked, with the ideas that I can somehow change them.  I believe that Solomon is speaking not about the gift of compassion which means you care about someone who does not believe what you believe.  He is, instead, speaking about how wise people invest their time.

Each of us has those people we care about, and we want them to have a good life and be successful.  Especially in our families, our churches, our neighborhoods, we have people that we just want to encourage or support even though we don't agree with their lifestyle or their points of view.  I don't think this is the situation Solomon is addressing at all.  We all need to care about others and try and support them as they seek the truth in life.

Solomon is really talking more about how we prioritize our lives.  Think for a minute about how you spend your time with others.  If you are a business leader, how much time do you spend trying to bring up the performance of the weak employees, or those that don't fit, at the expense of those who could benefit from your guidance and really change the company?  Who have you withheld your wisdom from that could have grown and become even wiser, as they would take everything you give them and grow with it?

As a teacher, do you find yourself always trying to convince the skeptic, rather than develop the willing learner?  As a parent, do you recognize the difference in your child's friends, the ones who can receive wisdom and the ones that mock it?  Can you help your child see the difference?

I believe Solomon is giving us a great model for investment in others.  Whether through mentoring, teaching or leading, it is as important to select those with whom you share your wisdom as it is the content.  There will be those who cannot or will not receive what you have to say or demonstrate with a willing spirit, and it falls off them like rain off a roof, spilling down and running off, wasted.  Solomon says even more than wasted, it can actually evoke feelings of hatred toward you from those who are not inclined to hear it.  Imagine, being so full of wisdom, wanting to share it, yet being hated for doing so?  Sounds irrational, but if we examine our circumstances, we can all think of times when we were resented for saying something.  I have seen my kids, when they were at the less wise points in their lives, really hate the times when I sit them down to share what I think is good wisdom and learning for them.  In one ear and out the other, it appears.  I have seen leaders, who did not want to think me wiser than them, turn full away from my message to prevent it from influencing their decisions.

The point is this.  Love unconditionally, look for opportunities to help a "mocker" want to be wise, but invest your wisdom in those who will appreciate it and learn from it.  The world needs a new generation of wisdom quickly, and we don't have the luxury of choosing who is willing to receive it.