The Four Cornerstones of Wisdom
There is a common misconception that we need to be “old” in order to be wise, when in reality, we really just need to live our lives by four essential beliefs or “cornerstones” when it comes to wisdom:
- Unlimited potential– we often think that we have a limit as to how far we can push ourselves, when the truth is that we have unlimited potential that we probably haven’t even begun to tap into. We can absolutely be better that we were last week, last month, last year- all we need to do is remember the fact that when we really want something, we need to push ourselves as hard as possible in order to get it. It sounds clichéd, but you really don’t know what you’re made of until you try!
- Turn your greatest weaknesses into your biggest strengths– This is actually known as the #1 secret to success. At one time, we were all not so great at the things that now come second nature to us. So, why not use that same method with everything we want to achieve in life? As silly as it may sounds, think like a child learning to walk: they fall down several times, but keep getting back up and never once believe that they can’t do it. And then what happens? Walking becomes easier until it is second nature to them. If we can look at our weaknesses and challenges like this, we will always be able to turn them into our strengths.
- Look at mistakes positively, the right way: Don’t look at mistakes as a bad thing. Learn from them, make them fast and make them in small strides, and you will actually end up learning something. A good question to ask yourself each day is “will I win or learn today?” because it gets you into the habit of thinking that even if things don’t go as good as you would’ve liked, you’re still learning from whatever happened and it most certainly wasn’t a waste.
- Don’t avoid challenging or difficult situations, they help accelerate growth: Very similar to looking at mistakes in a positive way, we should also do this with challenging situations. If something is too easy or too simple, we aren’t usually then challenged to think about anything differently or grow. While challenging situations may be intimidating, if we can use that fear to drive us, we will end up learning and growing from it in the end.
It is important to remember that social conditioning and many other aspects usually make us forget these essential wisdoms that are instilled in us at birth. This is good news, because it means that we can very easily get back into that mindset! For more on this and many other thought-provoking concepts, check out our episode of The Motivational Intelligence Podcast entitled “The Four Cornerstones of Wisdom.”Also, be sure to check us out/ subscribe to our social media!
The Four Cornerstones of Wisdom
John Casey: Yes. Hi everyone. Our podcast today is the four cornerstones of wisdom, and I’m not sure if this is proper podcast etiquette, but I want to give you the conclusion first, and it’s good news. We don’t have to wait until we’re senior citizens to understand and leverage the four cornerstones of wisdom.
As a matter of fact, we have them all already, and maybe, just maybe, we’ve always had them. Perhaps we were even born with them. Maybe that’s the gift of birth: all the wisdom we’ll ever need. But sadly, we may detach ourselves from that wisdom at some point.
So at 2logical, we’re here to help you regain all the wisdom you may have lost. Also, remind you the most important step to gaining and leveraging the four cornerstones of wisdom is to believe we have them already and especially believe that since its true.
So let’s see if you agree with us at 2logical. We call the first cornerstone of wisdom: unlimited potential and with some simple questions, hopefully we can get you to agree with us. The first question is, can we be better next week than we are this week? And of course the more you think about that question, then everybody will come to the conclusion, well, yes, we can be better week over week, month over month, quarter over quarter, year over year. So we like to ask the follow-up question: Why? Why couldn’t we be better a week from today than we are now? And the answers people give us are, you know, pretty simple and straightforward, we can learn new things, we can try new things.
We can finish a book. We can learn from a subject matter expert. We can seek out and find a best practice. So yes, we do have unlimited potential to improve. We also like to ask the follow-up question, is this gift, this unlimited potential, is this born to just a chosen select few or does everybody receive it?
And of course the answer is everybody gets it. It’s not just born to a chose and select few, but the key to accessing our unlimited potential is believing that we have it. And then wanting something so much so that we push ourselves and we actually use that potential to get better day over day, week over week.
One of our sayings at 2logical is “it’s always in the want to, that people will discover the how to,” but, clearly though, the want to has to come first. So that’s the first cornerstone, unlimited potential. We all have it. And we’ve always had it. So the second cornerstone of wisdom is tied to what we believe is the number one secret to success.
And you know, it’s funny, I travel around the world and I ask people that I speak to, “how many of you actually believe that you know the number one secret to success and have used it your entire lives?” And, rarely if ever, does a hand go up in the audience and you know, that might be part of the problem.
People don’t necessarily believe that they are as powerful as they really are. So I’d like to see if you pass this one as well. I want to ask you a couple of questions, make a powerful statement and see if you would agree that you actually own the number one secret to success.
First of all, here’s what we think is a very powerful statement: every strength that you now have was once in fact a weakness. In other words, everything we’re good at doing now, we used to suck at. Everything that is effortless and automatic and natural to us now once wasn’t, it was clumsy, it was awkward, it was cumbersome.
It made us feel uncomfortable and now it doesn’t. Every strength we now have was once a weakness. And, you know, I can take you back to walking if we have to. There might be some adults still around that remember when we weren’t very good at it and we used to fall down all the time.
If you think about the ability to walk, nobody does it for us, we have to learn that ourselves and it takes, you know, on average, a 15, 16 to 23, 24, 25 months to master. Usually starts around nine months to 14 months or so does a baby start to try to figure out mobility and learning how to walk.
Then they spend months, months over a year practicing and mastering it. And by the way, on this journey to mastering walking, that one year old will fall down on average between 240 and 280 times. And never once in their little mind will they believe they can’t. When they fall down, they do not judge themselves.
They don’t beat themselves up. They try to figure out what just happened and try to prevent it from happening again, and they have the unflinching, unwavering belief that they will figure it out. So thus they continue to try and adjust. It is magical. They just don’t see mistakes the way everybody else does.
And then they master walking and then of course, we never have to think about it again, unless we have a brain injury or a brain disease. We have mastered the activity and thus we own it. Every strength we now have was once a weakness. And by the way, turning a weakness into a strength is what we believe to be the number one secret to success.
If you think about it, you probably have hundreds, maybe even thousands of things that you’re good at doing. Those are your strengths and they all started out as weaknesses, awkward, clumsy, cumbersome, uncomfortable things, but they’re just not now. So you have turned a weakness into a strength hundreds or thousands of times on your journey.
You own it. You know how to do it, and that’s a great reflection question. Ask yourself, make a list of all the things you’re strong at doing, and ask yourself, how did I turn that into a strength? How did I turn that into a strength? And you’ll probably see a very similar formula. You own it.
Congratulations. So the third cornerstone of wisdom, well, it’s kind of tied to that second one. It’s about making mistakes. Most people are so reluctant to try something new because they might make a mistake, they might not look, you know, smooth, or they might look foolish, or they might have that in their head, which prevents them from even trying. They’re so caught up with “what if I make a mistake?” and that’s the problem. We like to ask people: what have you learned more from in your life? Mistakes or successes? And the answer probably is: mistakes. We learn more from our mistakes than our successes.
They are actually a great guide. So the third cornerstone of wisdom has to do with making mistakes and what is the proper way to look at that. And that’s really the key. Cause if we go into anything, trying not to make a mistake, we are actually focusing our mind on making a mistake. The mind will go where we direct it.
So we must change the focus on whether or not I’m gonna make a mistake to what am I going to do to, to move one step closer? If you think about all the great entrepreneurs, all the great inventors, how did they actually get to their conclusion that made them noteworthy? It was by making many, many mistakes, just like the 240 to 280 we make learning how to walk, just like the 10,000 mistakes Thomas Edison said he made in creating the first working incandescent light bulb. And his motto was, “Yes, on my 10,000th try, I was right.” So if we have the proper mindset on mistakes and we make them fast and we make them small, that will actually improve our chances of success as we move forward in any area of our life.
We have to have the optimal mindset on how we look at us making mistakes. So that’s the third cornerstone. It is our view, our belief about us making mistakes and remember, a win or learn mindset is much more proactive than a win or lose mindset. Which seems to shrink and prevent people from initiative or adaptability or innovation or creativity.
So make sure you choose well when you choose how you look at mistakes. As I like to tell people, one of the things I say every morning when I look in the mirror is “Today, I win or learn,” and that is the mindset that helps us really leverage our mistakes and actually get us to be proactive.
And if you think about it, you could probably put every day of your life into a win category or a learn category and both winning and learning are positive things. And if every day could be put into one of those two categories that pretty much means every day is positive. And those are some other mindset tips for you.
Okay. Onto the fourth cornerstone of wisdom that we believe everyone has, everyone owns. And that is how do we accelerate our growth and success? What is the fast track to it? Well, obviously there’s a couple of ingredients to this, but the main catalyst might be something that most people don’t think it is.
So again, we’ll start with asking you a couple of questions. What has the capacity to stretch and grow us the most? A difficult challenging project or an easy one that we’ve done many times before? What has the potential to actually drive us to innovation or a new way of thinking or doing something, a difficult deadline or an easy one? You know, if you’re a boss or a parent, who has the capacity to grow and stretch us more, a peak performer that thinks just like we do, or somebody that doesn’t think like we do and may not have the same experience as we do and may actually be a struggling performer? You know, if you think about it, if you’re a boss, who do you do your best coaching and mentoring with and why?
It’s probably your peak performer. It’s probably the one that thinks the most like you, it’s probably the easy one. If you’re a parent and you have a couple of kids, you might have an easy one and you might have a challenging one. And the easy one probably doesn’t stretch and grow you, probably doesn’t cause you to find new ways of engagement and communication and seeing things how they do.
So in actuality, it’s the challenging one, it’s the difficult one that actually can be the catalyst, the key to our own growth, our own stretching. So we just have to look at those things the right way and then allow those things to actually stretch and grow us. Looking at things the right way, looking at difficult things, whether it’s a project, a deadline, or a person, the right way actually has a huge benefit in stretching us and growing us and causing us to actually move in different directions. Whereas of course, you’d probably agree that, you know, doing the same thing over and over again the same way and have an easy projects, easy deadlines, easy people to work with, may actually put us in a rut or put us in a pattern that makes it difficult for us to get out of. So, having some of that challenging stuff really can be a huge benefit in accelerating our growth and success. So those are the four cornerstones of wisdom is as we see it. You know, the first being unlimited potential, we all have that ability.
The second is the number one secret to success: turning a weakness into a strength. We’ve been doing it our entire lives. The third is the looking at mistakes the right way. You know, it’s often been said, if you’re not making any mistakes, you’re not doing anything. You’re certainly not trying anything new.
So having the right view of mistakes and a win or learn mindset is that third cornerstone And then the fastest way to grow ourselves, to stretch ourselves is to run at, difficult or challenging projects, deadlines, and people, because they do have the ability to stretch and grow us.
So if you think about, you know, the ages of one, two, three and four, we are leveraging those four cornerstones pretty much every day. That’s our handbook because we are always outside of our comfort zone. We are always dealing with turning strengths into weaknesses. We’re always making mistakes and falling down.
We’re always finding goals and things difficult because we’re so unaware, but at some point in our journey, we lose the frequency of those four cornerstones of wisdom and societal conditioning and lower level thinking seems to take over. So we’re going to address that in a future podcast.
But we at 2logical want you to get your mojo back. And I guess one of those first reminders is to realize we have the four cornerstones of wisdom already in our toolkit. We’ve learned the lessons, we’ve leveraged it. We can look back on our own journey and hopefully see those times that we have in our lives and perhaps those times where we’ve forgotten that we actually have this wisdom.
So now that you know, you have everything you need to take yourself to the next level of your personal or professional journey, what are you waiting for? Your best you is in the future. Leverage that best you that also was in your past, but clearly your best is in your future. Go find it. Allow us at 2logical to help you on your journey. Thanks again for your time today. This is John Casey from 2logical.
Show Notes: The Four Cornerstones of Wisdom
0:49- Why having wisdom doesn’t seem natural
1:18- Cornerstone #1- Unlimited Potential
2:39- The Key to Unlocking Our Unlimited Potential
3:29- Cornerstone #2- Turning Weaknesses into Strengths (the number 1 secret to success)
5:25- Think like a child learning to walk
7:50- Cornerstone #3- Look at Mistakes in a Positive Way
9:59- Making mistakes helps us learn
11:52- Cornerstone #4- Difficult situations accelerate growth