Age Doesn’t Equal Wisdom
Throughout a my life, I have come across a common belief amongst people that age has a strong correlation with wisdom, and furthermore success. This is a notion that I categorically disagree with.
It does not mean that I don’t believe that people with more years cannot be wise. In fact, more times than not, there is a pattern between the two. However, it does not occur often enough for society to accept it as a rule.
Furthermore, this concept has been extended and has lead to another popular belief which is even more false than the first. The concept that people with less years are not capable of possessing wisdom. This notion could not be more false.
Young people in several cases can be just, if not more knowledgeable and wise than people with more years under their belt. This can happen for several reasons.
First and foremost, there is a large number of young people with a thirst for bettering themselves. Call it a youthful exuberance. Age leads to experience that’s for certain, but experiences aren’t always positive. In fact, I would say that more often than not, experience leads to jaded opinions.
Sometimes being jaded can be helpful in guiding oneself through dangerous or challenging situations. However, the concept of being jaded means that one walks through life with peripheral blinders. Jaded people see the world through a different light, one that protects but also one that can hold us back from accepting new information, knowledge and sometimes criticism.
A youthful approach to life can allow for thoughts and ideas to be shared with less bias. This allows for the brain, mind and heart to absorb more information and actually ponder what is being shared. This consideration itself is a what makes youth special. The ability to understand and take in new ideas without bias, allowing the youth to build a stronger foundation for knowledge. It gives the ability for fresh thought and potentially development of new ideas and original opinions.
The next reason why the overarching concept of age equals wisdom is false is the availability of ideas that didn’t exist 20 years ago. The internet and the gentrification of society has played a large role in the constant flow of ideas. Sharing thoughts, opinions and knowledge is easier in this decade than ever before. People can share concepts quicker, faster and more often without lifting a finger.
Furthermore the development of society has allowed for more people to get together and help to build stronger foundations earlier on. Where 20 years ago and further back in time, organizational standards were hard to come by. However, in this decade, there are numerous services that provide an exponential amount of options for people to learn. By taking advantage of these luxuries, younger people have more information at their fingertips than people with experience ever had.
Consider the following analogy. Picture a high school track. People who were born 50 years ago only have access to running shoes. Therefore, throughout their life they run around the track, picking up knowledge and experience as they go. The tools that they have are simple and even those that run as fast as they can, are limited in what they can absorb.
Now 50 years later, more people enter the track. The difference is the newer members of this track team have far more options that running shoes in order to make it around the track. They may choose to use a bicycle, skateboard, roller skates, or even more advanced options such as the ever so popular hoverboard. These tools allow the newer people to navigate through the track faster. Sure they may miss a few experiences by the sheer speed in which they travel, but they gain those experiences back by being exposed to more of them overall. The technology and organization allows them exposure to more situations in total. Therefore, eventually they will be able to lap the people that started 50 years ago. Their speed is a distinct advantage.
Furthermore, the people who have been running the whole time grow tired as years go on. This represents the concept of being jaded. Experiences along the way has hindered their ability to run at the pace in which they began. However, the newer participants are less affected by this because the technology they have access too prevents them from slowing down as much. Though they take in less of each experience, they are moving onto the next one and gaining little bits from a larger number of events.
Overall, due to the sheer number unique ideas that younger people can absorb, they are able to play catchup with people that have more years of experience. Their ability to view these experiences without bias allows them to absorb more from the events that they are apart of. And finally, the attitude that younger people can approach life with presents a fresh opportunity for growth and learning. These factors can contribute directly to increased wisdom.
The point that must be learned and reinforced is that age and wisdom do not have as strong of a correlation as people are prone to believe. In fact, it’s experience, the sharing of ideas and the readiness to accept these ideas that lead to wisdom. And age has no affect on those factors.
Age gives you more time to play the game, but it can’t provide you a strategy in which to play. Sometimes youthful exuberance allows for a fresh set of tactics and alternatives that tired players cannot see. Sometimes youth is exactly what is needed to be successful.
And the worst part of the entire situation is that most people are far too jaded to consider this opinion as well. Maybe the tragedy isn’t that “youth is wasted on the young”. Perhaps the real tragedy is that wisdom is hard to come by and those with more years to gain wisdom, simply let wisdom pass them by.