Wisdom – Air to a Drowning Man

A proud young man came to Socrates asking for wisdom. He walked up to him and said, “O great Socrates, I come to you for wisdom.” Socrates, recognizing a pompous fool when he saw one, led him down to the sea and took him chest deep into the water. Then he asked him, “What did you say you wanted?” “Wisdom, O great Socrates,” said the young man.


Socrates put his strong hands on the man’s shoulders and pushed him under. Thirty seconds later Socrates let him up. “What do you want?” he asked again. “Wisdom,” the young man sputtered, “O great and wise Socrates.” Socrates pushed him under again. Thirty seconds, thirty-five, forty – then Socrates let him up. The man was gasping. “What do you want, young man?” 

Between heavy breaths the fellow wheezed, “Wisdom! O wise and wonderful…” Socrates jammed him under again – forty seconds passed then fifty – then he let him up. “What do you want?” “Air!” the young man yelled. “I need air!”  “When you want wisdom as much as you have just wanted air, then you will begin to find wisdom.” 

How important is wisdom to life?

Wisdom is as important to life as air is to a drowning man!

To get wisdom, you must go after it with desperation because in the way are many obstacles keeping you from actually finding wisdom and applying it to life.

Wisdom is…

  • The ability to see clearly and choose correctly the best course of action
  • The application of knowledge and evaluated experience to every day life

Foolishness is…

  • selfishness
  • an unwillingness to listen to the advice of others
  • the inability to learn from experience (your own or that of others)
  • disrespect
  • laziness
  • lack of engagement and  follow through in relationships
  • giving up when the going gets tough

A wise man learns by the experience of others.
An ordinary man learns by his own experience.
A fool learns by nobody’s experience
. (Source Unknown)

Seeking wisdom during recovery

The pursuit after wisdom is something I think about often –on a daily basis – as I try to figure out what the best course of action is for my life at this point in time.

The challenge I’m in the middle of right now is the journey of “getting back to work” with my hours gradually increasing.  What makes this process challenging is two things: 1) the type of work I do; and 2) the fact that another surgery is coming in October when I’ll stop working again for three months.

I need wisdom to see clearly and choose carefully the best course of action. It involves finding meaningful projects and the right people to work with and help (by coaching, mentoring, consulting, etc.) and be able to leave that work behind for three months when I go off-line in October.

It would be easy for me to become paralyzed and just keep spinning my wheels. Instead, I’m pursuing wisdom as I face this work challenge because I’m not into easy, I’m into having a meaningful and purposeful life!

What am I doing to pursue wisdom?

  • I’m reading to grow my knowledge and myself as a person
  • I’m listening to podcasts and webinars to grow my capacity to help others
  • I’m spending time learning from wise people
  • I’m networking with people – with ears and eyes open for emerging opportunities
  • I’m praying for direction and help to figure this out
  • I’m committed to working the allotted hours required in productive ways
  • I’m reflecting on how I made it through hard transitions before
  • I’m riding an exercise bike to get back into shape, feel better and grow stronger
  • I’m reminding myself of the habits necessary to do my work effectively (Being off work for two years does have its challenges!)

So as you can see – I’m endeavouring to see clearly and choose correctly the best course of action by applying knowledge and evaluated experience to the choices I’m making. That for me is wisdom.

Why bother pursing wisdom?  Because with it comes inner peace, purposeful living and relationships that work.  The fool has inner turmoil, a life lacking purpose, and relationships in disarray.

What are you doing to apply wisdom to your life?
What needs to change so you demonstrate greater desperation for wisdom?

Image source: Free image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net
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About Cam Taylor

I'm help people live inspired, focused and tenacious lives. I work as a coach, facilitator, author, and speaker.
This entry was posted in Adversity, Attitude, Character, Endurance, Growth, Heart, journaling, learning, motivation, Opportunity, Perspective, purpose, self-awareness, surgery, wisdom and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Wisdom – Air to a Drowning Man

  1. Shirlene Henning. says:

    “Wisdom”…it’s interesting. These past days you’ve been in my thoughts. Regarding your next upcoming surgery – a question: “is it “wise” for Cam to have this surgery” ?? (even tho’ we understand the reason for it). But..”He is doing soooo well!” I then thought of the theme of our church for the assembly – “Better Together” and from God..”We best persue the Wisdom of God when we pursue it together” (Daily Bread). Together we will be here for you and Vicky – we’ve learned more about Wisdom from you two, from your Dr’s who have wisely done so much for you. God’s Wisdom – for the challenges of life!

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