7 Outstanding Quotes On Wisdom I Wish I’d Always Known.

Quote 1.

Rembrandt_Harmensz._van_Rijn_038A wise old man: “Philosopher in Meditation” by Rembrandt. Wikipedia.

“The key to success in life is using the good thoughts of wise people.”

Leo Tolstoy

I have always loved and sought out the ‘good thoughts of wise people.’ We can gain so much from reading about others’ ways of thinking and learning from these golden nuggets of wisdom to help us though.

From the wise words of the great and the good we can further our own knowledge, using their thoughts to assist us in creating our own new and original ideas.

It is almost as if they are there for posterity to encourage and inspire us in whatever journey through life we are taking.

Quote 2.


Portrait of Gouyen (The One Who is Wise.)Wikimedia Commons.

“A wise woman does not keep her wisdom to herself. She shares wisdom with the world, because she knows that through wisdom, many lives can be transformed.”

 Gift Gugu Mona

Keeping quiet and hiding our wisdom will have little impact on the world around us. Having the confidence to speak up when we feel we have something important to say is paramount. 

Sometimes, sharing our wisdom means standing out from the crowd and having the courage to say what is true to one’s heart.

It is being strong enough to be authentic, even if this goes against the opinion of others.

Speaking out for those who might be too afraid to do so themselves, perhaps because of some injustice like trauma or persecution, is also crucial. As the wise woman quoted above says, ‘many lives can be transformed.’

Quote 3.

steps-158347_1280“All wisdom ends in paradox.”

Jeffrey Eugenides

‘Only the paradox comes anywhere near to comprehending the fullness of life.’

Carl Jung

Paradoxes are about seemingly contradictory statements, or images, where both sides of the contradiction can be true.

Our world is full of contradictions and paradoxes. They present us with so much to consider, so many opposing aspects of life to think about.

They wisely teach us that there are no absolutes, that reality and truth are complex issues, that contrary views can both contain the truth, that nothing is as it seems.

These are valuable lessons that can only guide us on our path through life towards wisdom and understanding..

“Take the road to contradiction, it’ll lead you, I promise, to the palace of wisdom.”
Frank Lentricchia

Unless we consider and balance contradictory arguments, different ways of seeing, we will never view the whole picture in life. 

If we cannot accept life’s ambiguities, we will always have a partial, fragmentary take on the world, both inside and around us.

Quote 4.

50782637432_8d8fce1226_oHendrick ter Brugghen – Democritus and Heraclitus [1618-19]

“Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.”

“Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.”

The above quotes offer two pieces of wisdom for the price of one. Only through self-knowledge can we effect change. Without this, we will be operating unconsciously, unaware of our real, authentic self.

Attempting to change the world, or the people around us, before we have understood ourselves, will be ineffective, for unless we know ourselves, we will see others through a lens clouded by our own imaginings, projections and distortions.

In addition, we will be unaware of this bias, if we have not examined ourselves psychologically.

“The unexamined life is not worth living.” Socrates.

Learning about oneself can have a positive impact on our lives, our relationships and our work. It can mean that we see more clearly, and relate to others in a more honest and wise way.

Quote 5.

51133604804_897d87ab04_oJean-Pierre Alaux – Untitled. Gandalf’s Gallery. Flickr.

“To understand the actual world as it is, not as we should wish it to be, is the beginning of wisdom.”

Bertrand Russell

The great philosopher and logician Bertrand Russell is talking about acceptance here; acceptance of what is. No matter how much we want or expect the world to be different, things may not turn out as we had hoped.

If we spend our lives railing against ‘cruel fate,’ or whatever else, we will most likely be unhappy and dissatisfied. Accepting ‘the actual world as it is,’ will inevitably mean that we are more content, calmer – and certainly wiser.

Quote 6.


Jacques-Louis David.The Death Of Socrates. Wikimedia Commons.

“The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.”


What did Socrates mean by this paradoxical statement?

He was aware that there is so much to know in the universe, so much to learn, that each of us cannot possibly be seen as wise.

Therefore, in relation to all there is to know, we know nothing, even if we are top scientists, eminent philosophers or professors.

Quote 7.

imageEdvard Munch. Melancholy. Wikimedia Commons.

“Turn your wounds into wisdom.”
Oprah Winfrey

This quotation is truly wise, in that it helps us understand that we could gain something good out of the pain and trauma we might have experienced in our lives.

 Psychological renewal can occur, through life experience and through psychotherapy.

Poppies symbolise such growth out of damage and loss. They grow on the former battlefields of the first world war. They are a living memorial and a reminder of past trauma.Poppies_Growing_on_the_Marne_Battlefield_near_Villeroy_and_Chauconin_France_-_panoramio

Poppies on the Marne Battlefield, France.

Phoenix-like, energy and strength may emerge from the ashes of adversity.

Sanford describes how many adults traumatised in childhood have amazing resilience.

It is frequently said that lifelong emotional damage is inevitable after such experiences, yet there are countless examples of healthy, functioning adults who have experienced childhood abuse.


Healing may be attained, for example, through nurturing relationships, spirituality, self-examination, religion or art.

In psychotherapy, people learn to work through their past traumas, emerging stronger and more insightful.

Perhaps, paradoxically, our irregularities, our incompleteness, are what makes us real, whole people. 

Leonard Cohen’s wise words provide a thoughtful ending to this post:

 ‘There’s a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in .’


Enchanted Rock Cave Crack.Patrick Lewis. Flickr.

Do make a wise decision and follow this blog! Thank you. Linda.

©Linda Berman.

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