Before we get into the HOWs, I believe we need to first explain what Practical Wisdom stands for. We know that the Greek history is famous for their humanities. Especially, when it comes to philosophy. One of their philosophers, Socrates deduced that every individual longed to find Sophia or Wisdom. Even his student Plato supported this idea by explaining that man needs the wisdom to be able to understand all of the virtues (moral qualities). Once these virtues are comprehended, they naturally become a trait. So for instance, if someone understands what it means to be courageous, they will automatically be braver.
See now, there’s a catch. Sophia only translates to theoretical wisdom. This basically means having educated assumptions regarding something. Aiming at what could be the case. Aristotle, another Greek Philosopher, elaborated on the ideas that were proposed by his mentors. He suggests that while theoretical wisdom is important, you need Phronesis for the realization and implementation of virtues.
Phronesis is the virtue of practical reasoning. It consists of the choices we make based on our desires. So, a practically wise person will make the best choice, at the best time, for the best reason. But, not everybody is sound enough to have such accuracy. It takes capability to reach a level of excellence in life. For that, there are ways you can develop Practical Wisdom in life.
1. Telos or an Aim
Every life should have a purpose. The purpose of an architect is to design. The purpose of a doctor is to heal. But a Telos is that which is done with good intention. The architect and the doctor should want to design or heal to the best of their capabilities. Understand what your objective is before you can move on to achieving it.
2. Have Different Points Of View
Practical Wisdom is concerned with particular situations. There are many circumstances an individual comes across, where they have to make a choice. Before making a choice, you need to look at the situation with a variety of perspectives. Change your shoes and imagine the effects of your decision. This will, again, help you make the right choice.
3. Make Educated Guesses
Or in other words, as previously mentioned; Sophia. The good is only a result of the right knowledge. The bad is a result of absolute ignorance. You can only achieve excellence once you deserve it. So, make it a habit it explore. No amount of knowledge is ever enough. Your choices are cultivated according to what you know. The more you know, the better your decisions will be.
4. Have Enough Experience
There’s a reason why Phronesis translates to ‘Practical‘ wisdom. You shouldn’t just know the matter. You need to have enough set of previous encounters with it. For example, you cannot become a surgeon by studying a text that tells you how to operate on a body. You need to first practice the skill – in this case, for years. So the more you pick your choices intelligently, the greater experience you have. And this is how you become practically wiser.
Reflect on your past choices that relate to the one at hand. Consider all aspects of your decisions. These include how you feel about the decision, and also how another would feel (if it’s affecting them.) What is the best way you can go about dealing with the matter?
6. Just Do It
Here’s the thing. Wisdom is only practical when you actually implement it. Only thinking about the rights virtues, understanding them and building your knowledge is not enough. It’s waste until you use all of that in-depth intelligence into making some kind of change.