What do you do when your social media director comes to you and says, “I have a great idea, let’s start a Wisdom Wednesday piece?” My first reaction was who on our staff has wisdom to share? Insert an LOL here. I, of course, had to make sure that we were true to the meaning of wisdom so I looked it up.
wis·dom noun: the quality of having experience, knowledge, and good judgment; the soundness of an action or decision with regard to the application of experience, knowledge, and good judgment.
After reading that, I was sure that I have lots of wisdom, and so does my staff and so do you as the reader. We all do. As I read the definition the thought struck me, “is true wisdom acquired by having experience?” In the full dissection of the definition it also specifically included “good judgment.” As I reflected on these thoughts and my own experiences in life, it has been my experience that the wisdom I have today, did not always come from having the best judgment or making good choices. The wisdom I have today also came through making mistakes, through failures, through heartbreak, and yes poor decisions.
As we all build our experiences in life, it is often the goal to prevent others from making mistakes by imparting our wisdom on others. Therein lies the irony, why would someone else want to listen to the wisdom of somebody who had made mistakes, who had failed, who had done something wrong in the past? To expand on that question, why wouldn’t we want those younger than us to make mistakes so later in life they can also have “wisdom” as a result of their experiences?
This takes us back full circle to the “knowledge” part of wisdom and the old adage “knowledge is power.” As we impart wisdom to provide knowledge to those who do not have experience, it is to protect them from those mistakes, pain or failures that lead us to be so wise. How is our next generation gaining knowledge? Is that knowledge based in fact? Is that knowledge from life experience? Is that knowledge something seen on Tik Tok? Is that knowledge based in bias, or clouded by bad experiences? This is where a word I learned long ago comes into play and is a key part of becoming wise: discernment. It seems this should go without saying. Unfortunately, knowledge is quickly being attained in 60 second sound bites. Asking Google or Siri a quick question and not researching the facts. Knowing that consumers are getting information by watching a Tik Tok on collection agencies and thinking that the presenter is leading you to making mistakes, is alarming.
As I age and have seen the culture of collections evolve, it has become our mission to help prevent folks from dealing with poor financial decisions in the future, and to face them now to prevent them now. This in itself can change lives. It also brings to question whether the definition of Wisdom should be updated. In imparting wisdom, I believe that “morally sound judgment” should be included. This added phrase then makes those sharing their experience responsible for making sure that what they took away and what they want to impart is based in “good”.
Therefore if someone had a bad experience for example with a collection agency, does that mean ALL collection agencies are bad? Does this mean you should never speak to one or answer their call, because they are bad people? Of course not. This is where knowledge, researching the facts, incorporating your own experience, and your own morally sound judgment has to define what will become part of your wisdom. For our staff, we want to help, we want to work towards the greater good for our clients and their consumers. We want to change the face of collections, because it can change lives. As such, I believe there is a responsibility to providing the next generation with knowledge that isn’t mired with ways to cheat or avoid or squirm out of something. Our job as “old”, experienced, and flawed wise people should be lifting the next generation into accountability, responsibility, honor, and truth.
With all that said, may you face this day knowing you are wise.