Wisdom tends to come with age because, artful living, like all skills, needs practice. And, practice benefits from time spent navigating different life circumstances. The good news is that you can very intentionally increase the intensity and extent of your practice. Luckily, we need not wait until our hairs turn grey. Plus gaining grey hair does not guarantee the gaining of wisdom either.
You have to seek in order to find
I was talking to someone in their mid-twenties today. He wanted to know if delving into his ‘up-tightness’ and his nagging feeling of ‘discontentment’ could change how he relates to life and to other people. My answer was a resounding, yes, for, how could it not?! It struck me that this individual had wisdom beyond his years. He was very actively seeking to engage in an enquiry — to deepen his understanding of himself and his world.
And, it is precisely this sort of enquiry that men and women, some of whom we now remember as ‘wise’, have undertaken under different traditions for thousands of years.
Time and experience
There is no substitute for time because there are some lessons that only experience can teach us. Yet, no man can experience everything, and who is to say how much experience one needs in order to become wise? Perhaps, wisdom is not really a destination, then? Perhaps it is more a path of deepening awareness and understanding about yourself and your world, as you go along.
What of artful living?
I have already written about the importance of practice in effecting personal change. Behavioural change usually needs repetition — practise under the relevant conditions. If you struggle with public speaking for example, exploring what blocks your confidence must happen alongside actually practising public speaking.
When it comes to artful living, the principle is no different. The practice however is broader and open ended. It encompasses all that is you and all that you do, for as long as you live. The practice is about noticing your inner world and how that connects to the outer — noticing, which brings more choice.
Artful living requires intention
So, artful living is about skilfully flowing through life. whatever it throws at you. But, this requires realising that artful living is a skill, and then forming an intention to embrace it as an ongoing practice. A practice whose foundations lie in knowing yourself better.
Harsha is a 1:1 coach and independent thinker based in London. He empowers people to find more clarity, confidence and focus in their lives — to cut through the noise, in a world so full of it. Harsha’s new book, Machine Ego: Tragedy of the Modern Mind, is now available in paperback and Kindle through Amazon.