I read this definition somewhere: Wisdom is a very beautiful word for a set of qualities of character that enable us to face reality with serenity, good humour, kindness and resilience. The point is, we aren’t really born wise. In my case it has taken years of experience, advice and learning from my mistakes.
And I still make mistakes daily. Take this conversation for an example.
“I went to that Google event,” I tell the Doctor enthusiastically with a sparkle in my eyes. “Saw loads of people I know. I am rusty on networking.”
“Put oil on the rust and get good at it,” the Doctor smiles back at me, happy I had such a good time.
“Feel like sex,” I suddenly mutter without filtering my thoughts.
“Really? Why?” the Doctor asks matter of factly. Quite true, this statement came out of the blue and is totally inappropriate in this setting. But I am feeling safe and comfortable.
“Sex makes me feel good,” I tell the Doctor. “Boosts my self-confidence. Makes me feel like a woman. The sassiness, the sexiness. Problem is, that same feeling can be, poop, all gone. There are moments when I don’t even feel like a person, just this blob trying to survive.”
“Me too,” the Doctor admits though I find that hard to imagine.
“Haha funny,” I pull a funny face at him. In reality I am feeling rather offended by this remark but I am pretending I’m not. After all I started this stupid conversation. “Thanks for the turn off. Makes me feel instantly better.”
“Good,” the Doctor nods, content that his comment discouraged me from discussing such intimate matters with anyone other than my life partner. “Marriage comes with ups and downs.”
“Yeay,” I cheer as I realize my mistake. “He’s poisonous, you know.”
“Who?” the Doctor asks with big eyes.
“Wim’s chemo is poisonous,” I point out the obvious.
“I see,” the Doctor acknowledges, waiting for what is to follow. “So what’s your solution?”
“Get over it is what you’ll tell me,” I sulk. “Fine.”
“No don’t pre-judge what I will say,” the Doctor snaps back.
“You always say something like that,” I anticipate how this conversation will turn. “Whatever is bothering me, just my problem in my head and think about it differently.”
“What’s your solution?” the Doctor repeats again.
“I don’t have one of course,” I admit. I know my networking skills need updating. And the more you do something, the better you become at it. But after the few hick-ups I had today at the event, I feel like many things but not like throwing myself into another mingling party. “It taps into my insecurities. I‘m not attractive. And here we go again. I’ll just sit with the feeling until it passes.”
“Do something about it,” the Doctor encourages me to build further on my skills. I used to be so good at the small talk. “Just avoid people you work with.”
“Yes fun standing there all by myself,” I know he is right. I will not meet new people or look approachable if I keep myself engaged with people I know when I should really be rubbing shoulders with other entrepreneurs. “I’ll look desperate instead of sophisticated.”
“Remember the objective is business,” the Doctor is still trying to talk me into it. “Desperate works well.”
“It doesn’t in my case,” I shrug.
“Go to an Internations event,” the Doctor offers me a playground to practise on. “All people from all over the world. Mostly IT people. Check it out.”
“I have been to those events,” I remember my first attempts at socializing after I got divorced. I whince at the mere thought. “I went alone and felt very alone.”
“Great go again and get some business cards,” the Doctor won’t be deterred by my reluctance.
“Talked to some people but got bored and didn’t really connect with anyone,” I recount in short how I experienced the Internations evenings. “People go there and already know people. When you go alone you look like a pariah.”
“Go to some networking events, do your motivation, be subtle and sophisticated,” the Doctor repeats again.
“I did do all your tips and tricks and didn’t like them at all,” I am heavily resisting this suggestion. “Yes yes like today. It was lovely. Guess this is just my lot in life.”
“Exactly. Now maybe you met someone who is interesting,” the Doctor shows me that not all is as lost as I am making it out to be. “Give him a call and have coffee and discuss Google shit. Then ask for a good referral.”
“No you know that won’t work for various reasons,” I am giving the Doctor a very dubious eye now.
“Find a solution,” the Doctor winks. “Don’t be scared.”
This conversation beautifully illustrates how the wise among us approach life’s challenges and complications. I often stop to wonder at a particular attitude or quality the Doctor exhibits, and explore how this might fit into my own daily life. I would like to live and love like a wise person.