Photo Credit: Jewish Press

When driving down some road we are not familiar with and suddenly can’t find our way, the GPS or Waze tells us which way to turn.

This concept of listening instantly when the Waze tells us what to do is a great quality. It’s a shame that this listening ability only works this fast when it comes to a technical miscalculation on the road.

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We have so many moments when we really should be listening to the people we love and the people whose opinion we value. However, when it comes to anything on a deeper level than just a command of where to turn, we are all very intelligent and smart and need no help whatsoever.

“Try to be wise instead of being correct” goes the expression. There are so many examples in everyone’s life where we have to choose doing what is right over being right. This is called being wise.

Life is dynamic; we are all individuals with minds, opinions, and ideas that mold who we are. However, we are not alone in this world. Sometimes we find ourselves in certain situations with people who we might not like, or who we disagree with greatly. And we can’t just walk away. These individuals may be a family member, an in-law, a boss at work or any other situation that we can’t just get up and leave.

In these situations, to be wise or correct comes into play. If a person always wants to be the right one, they might find themselves pretty alone. It isn’t a pleasant feeling to be with someone who suffers from the “I know everything” syndrome. Sometimes a person is so full of themselves and so involved with how smart or great they are, that they leave no room for anyone else in their presence to actually exist.

Shlomo HaMelech asked Hashem to bless him with wisdom. He could have asked for anything. However, Shlomo realized that if he would have all the riches of the world, it would be worth nothing if he didn’t have the wisdom to know how to behave.

We ask G-d for thousands of requests daily: from wealth to health, to a promotion, or a good date, or even to a parking spot right near our work or school. Together with asking for whatever it is we want, from small to large, do we also ask for the wisdom to know how to behave once our request is granted?

If we have a good date, we now have to ask for the wisdom to know how to act in order that the date becomes a good and lasting relationship. I hear so many people argue and fight for what they believe is right. There is nothing wrong in standing up for what you believe is right, however sometimes when we are so busy being right, we miss the point. We win the battle but lose the war. Compromising and sometimes giving in to the other side’s opinions or actions might seem like a loss in the short term. However, that is what being smart and wise is all about. It’s seeing beyond the here and now and seeing the big picture. At the moment one might be giving in to the other side, but if a person really sees the big picture, they can see that this temporary measure is just a stepping stone for better connections and wiser decisions in the future.

When we make choices, we should try to see all the sides involved and not just our own point of view. When we only see our own perspective, the decisions we make will be very narrow-minded.

Great minds have the ability to take a step back and see beyond the moment’s confusion. It might even seem as if their opinion at that moment is insignificant or trivial.

Many arguments we find ourselves in are because we are only looking at the immediate, and not ahead at what good things are possibly awaiting us on the horizon. We tend to live in the here and now and forget that tomorrow is another day. But if we look at today’s challenges with a broader outlook, we might find that our choices will be much wiser and less hasty. We all want things to happen now, and we all want to be right. The more we ask Hashem for wisdom in whatever it is we are doing the more patience and better thought out our lives will look.

The young seem to know it all and don’t have the patience or energy to listen to their elders. The elders have lots of life experiences including the mistakes they have already made. However, no one wishes to learn from the mistakes of others. Let us pray that we have the wisdom to listen to others with more experience than ours and to have the ability to make the right choices with the big picture in mind.

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