Bend the rules -practical wisdom

Practical wisdom is a type of wisdom, that concerns practical things.

I discovered though a book: Thank You for Arguing by Jay Heinrichs where it holds place as one of three virtues of Ethos, which is one of three main ingredients for persuasion mentioned by Aristotle.

The author clarifies this with an example. There are an environmentalist and a nuclear power plant builder (you). If the environmentalist knows you as someone whom will consider the environment, that may not be enough. He still has to believe you will do the right thing at any given moment.

“The audience should consider you a sensible person, as well as sufficiently knowledgeable to deal withthe problem at hand” — Jay Heinrichs

Here is the interesting part practical wisdom is interesting because it is eccentric in the rule-based world. It actually reaches out and sometimes breaks the rules only because it is the right thing to do. Practical wisdom does not stick to decisions from books or universal truths.

Practical wisdom does not necessary come from experience, but it is more likely to source from there. Some even connect it to street smarts.

If trying to use practical wisdom for wining an argument there are three ways to do it. 1. Emphasise on your experience 2. Bend the rules. 3. Choose the middle of the two opposing arguments

Barry Schwartz talks about examples of practical wisdom within 23 minutes

Notice how brilliant his introduction is:

  1. Thanks the audience — this makes everyone delighted to be there
  2. Emphasise on experience: time spent researching
  3. “There are people with this opinion” — he points out he’s not the only one
  4. He points out experiences most of us share

Guidelines are there to guide us through uncertainty but often become the boundary that prevent us from doing the right thing that will ultimately benefit the end goal.

True leaders identify those opportunities and do what will make better impact in the future.