Dr. Diana Hill

Want to grow wiser? Build these two things within yourself.

Published 6 months ago • 2 min read

Dear Reader,

I wanted to be many different things when I grew up: a snail (age 5), an aerobics instructor on a cruise ship (age 13), and a psychiatrist (age 17).

Now, what I want to be is WISE.

Wisdom is the number one quality I look for in podcast guests–humble, inquisitive, open-minded, and innovative folks who’ve gotten out of their own way so they can serve others. And it is the quality I aim to support my clients to develop.

There are many different definitions of wisdom in ​​psychology research​​, but the one I like best centers on two characteristics:

Wisdom = Mental Wit + Virtuous Heart

If you want to grow wiser (which I hope you do because we need wise people to solve our world’s problems), you must devote energy to building both wit and virtue.

Wisdom occurs at any age (my 10-year-old is often far wiser than me). Wisdom is contextual (I’m a wise friend but not a very wise financial planner).

Try these wisdom-building exercises with me!

Build Your Wit

Practice deliberate humility:

Admit you don’t know and seek opportunities to learn more. Uncertainty is a central tenant in the ​​Berlin Wisdom Paradigm​​, and knowing the limits of your knowledge is a sign you are wise.

Seek novelty:

Try something new at work (listen to me do this in the real plays!), in your hobbies, or in your relationships. Even if you don’t gain wisdom, ​​at least you’ll have more fun​​!

Talk to wise people:

Take time to talk to a wise person you know. Find out what challenges they have faced and how they overcome them. What do they regret most? What’s one piece of advice they would give you about living well?

Build Your Virtue

Consider your intention:

Ask yourself, “What attitudes and values do I want to bring to this experience?” Schedule some times to remember your virtuous intention. For example, I set an intention before meditating, with guests before we hit record, and with my family before we eat dinner.

Cultivate compassion:

A virtuous heart is one that values the public good and being of benefit to others. When you feel bogged down by your problems, reach out and be of service. Notice how your perspective shifts and your wisdom grows.

Shift to heart mode:

In Restoring the Kinship Worldview, ​​Four Arrows and Darcia Narvaez​​ describe heart mode as “an openness to the beauty and uniqueness of the other…aware of shared living energy, dissolving separation.” Check in with your heart. Your heart houses much wisdom. Trust it.

To our collective wisdom,


Something wise to listening to

There’s wisdom in being ordinary. Check out this week’s episode with Ron Seigel and learn how you can get off the self-esteem roller coaster and into your ordinary, wonderful life.

Something wise to attend

Are you a clinician wanting to know what’s around the corner for evidence-based therapy? Join me and Joseph Ciarrochi for a free 1-hour workshop on Process-Based Therapy!

Something wise to writing about

Who do you consider wise? What are their characteristics? How can you embody some of these qualities today?

Listen to Your Life In Process Podcast

To help you build psychological flexibility from the inside out, every episode offers tools and practices to apply daily.

Become a MORE Life in Process Member

Becoming a sustaining member is a chance to give back to the show and receive bonus material.

Dr. Diana Hill

Psychological Flexibility Guide

Learn evidenced-backed, contemplative ideas and practices to help you develop your psychological flexibility. If you want to put your efforts into what you care most about, this twice-monthly Wise Effort newsletter is for you. Join the Wise Effort newsletter community!

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