WoW 053: On Wisdom System Principles [Words of Wisdom]

Some principles:

  1. The universe is relationship. What and who you become intimate with is most important. Fundamentally, from a Christian perspective, before creation, relationship existed: the love of God with Himself in the Trinity. So God created a universe full of relationships: where literally everything is interconnected and held together by His loving power. We in the west can see ourselves isolated, that our individual behaviors and lives don't impact others if they don't directly hurt others. But everything and everyone is related, dependent, and interconnected—a system.
  2. A system is a group of interconnected elements with a purpose.
  3. Wisdom is virtuous skill in action.
  4. Wisdom is inherently valuable. Love, beauty, truth, and goodness are all inherently meaningful.
  5. There are specific elements of wisdom known as virtues.
  6. Virtues are interconnected. Virtue A improves B, B influences C, and C helps A. Seeking to grow in honesty, for example, requires humility, improves your courage, and can even grow kindness when you realize how you would like someone to be honest with you.
  7. Virtues persist.
  8. Determine your virtues, determine your quality of life. Choose the highest virtues, and you will be on the path to the good life.
  9. Resentment, fear, and selfishness are stubborn roots that you must ruthlessly eliminate for virtue to have soil to thrive.
  10. Slow is strong. Slowing down improves your ability to feel and deal with reality. Slowing down in learning a skill forces you to work on the fundamentals. Taking shortcuts is a tradeoff that inevitably slows progress. Intentional slowness is most durable.
  11. Pain grows into more pain when avoided or controlled. Pain grows into more power when courageously and compassionately faced in community.
  12. Consistent small changes will lead to emergent results over time. You make a choice, it grows into consistency, and eventually, your choices make you. The sum of the parts is greater than the whole.
  13. Sometimes the only hope is a radical and daring commitment to renounce the old, embrace a new identity, and decisively take massive action.
  14. The more meaningful the purpose, the more radical the change.
  15. Wisdom is self-evident to the humble and confounding to the fool.
  16. Skin in the game is always superior to transferring risk. Risk avoidance, or not making sacrifices and seeking to avoid vulnerability, leads to all manner of unethical decisions.
  17. Deep presence is an often overlooked yet essential dynamic in a system.


"The role of character always has been the key factor in the rise and fall of nations. And one can be sure that America is no exception to this rule of history. We won't survive as a country because we are smarter or more sophisticated but because we are–we hope–stronger inwardly. In short, character is the only effective bulwark against internal and external forces that lead to a country's disintegration or collapse."

Anthony Harrigan -former president of U.S. Business and Industrial Council

"A system is a set of related components that work together in a particular environment to perform whatever functions are required to achieve the system's objective."

Donella Meadows, Thinking in Systems


Principles are only helpful if you understand and apply them. Which principle will you journal and meditate on this week?
What principle can you share with someone you respect and ask them what they think, how they've seen this to be true in their life, and what principles they live by?

Live wisely,


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