9 unexpected signs you’re wiser than you think, according to psychology

Think wisdom’s just for the old and the grey-haired?

Think again.

It’s not all about how many birthdays you’ve had or the degrees on your wall.

Turns out, there are some sneaky little signs that you might be wiser than you realize – and they’re not what you’d expect.

In this piece, we’re going to explore 9 surprising things that could mean you’ve got some serious wisdom under your belt.

So, get ready for a bit of an eye-opener.

You might just discover you’re a lot wiser than you’ve been thinking!

1) You’re comfortable with uncertainty

Life throws curveballs at us all the time, and it’s not always clear how to handle these situations.

But if you find yourself comfortable amidst uncertainty, take it as a sign of wisdom.

You see, psychology suggests that wisdom comes with the ability to embrace the unknown.

Wise people understand that life is unpredictable and are okay with not having all the answers.

And you know what?

This doesn’t mean they don’t seek knowledge.

On the contrary, they are curious and open to learning. But they also recognize that absolute certainty is an illusion.

So, if you’re someone who can navigate through uncertainty without losing your cool, give yourself a pat on the back.

You might be wiser than you think.

Let’s not forget that embracing uncertainty is not about being indecisive; it’s about acknowledging the complexities of life and being flexible in your approach.

2) You learn from your mistakes

We all make mistakes, but it’s what we do after that defines us.

I remember a time when I completely botched a big presentation at work.

I was embarrassed and disappointed in myself. It would have been easy to shrug it off and blame it on a bad day, but I decided to take a different approach.

However, I took some time to reflect on what went wrong.

Was I unprepared?

Did I let my nerves get the best of me?

After some honest introspection, I realized I hadn’t practiced enough.

Instead of wallowing in self-pity, I used this insight to better prepare for my next presentation.

In a nutshell, this ability to learn from our mistakes is a clear indicator of wisdom. That’s because wise people don’t see errors as failures; they see them as learning opportunities. 

3) You appreciate different perspectives

Wisdom is often associated with the capacity to understand and appreciate multiple perspectives.

The key is recognizing that there’s more than one way to see the world and more than one way to solve a problem.

In a study by Igor Grossmann, a psychologist at the University of Waterloo, it was found that individuals who could look at issues from diverse perspectives tended to score higher on measures of wisdom.

Do you find yourself considering other people’s viewpoints even when they contradict your own?

You see, when you show your ability to think beyond your personal biases and gain a broader understanding of the world you’re demonstrating empathy, open-mindedness, and a whole lot of wisdom.

4) You’re not easily swayed by emotions

I bet you can relate to this:

Sometimes, our emotions can cloud our judgment, leading us to make impulsive decisions.

A clear sign of wisdom is having the ability to keep your emotions in check, particularly during stressful situations.

Here’s the thing:

Wise people understand that while emotions are important, they shouldn’t dictate every decision.

You see, they can step back, assess the situation objectively, and make rational decisions even when their emotions are running high.

Let’s not forget this doesn’t mean suppressing emotions; it’s more about healthily managing them.

In essence, it’s the emotional balance between recognizing your feelings and not letting them control your actions. 

5) You value listening over speaking

In a world where everyone wants to be heard, there’s something refreshing about a person who genuinely listens.

So, if you find yourself more interested in understanding others than expressing your views, you might be wiser than you think.

The truth is wise people recognize that there’s always something new to learn, and one of the best ways to do that is by listening to others.

These folks aren’t quiet or passive, quite on the contrary they’re known for being open and receptive.

Just think about it.

Deep listening goes beyond just hearing words.

It involves understanding:

  • The underlying emotions
  • The unspoken messages
  • The context

After all, it’s about making the other person feel seen and heard. And that is a true sign of true wisdom.

6) You practice empathy and compassion

phrases lack of empathy 9 unexpected signs you’re wiser than you think, according to psychology

There’s a lot of talk about empathy and compassion these days, but embodying these qualities is a whole different ballgame.

Believe it or not, wisdom isn’t just about intellectual prowess or decision-making skills; it’s as much about the heart as it is about the mind.

Consider someone who genuinely feels for others and shows kindness without expecting anything in return, that’s wisdom at its finest.

These folks understand that we are all connected in this journey of life and that everyone is fighting their own battles, often unseen.

Wondering how to spot these folks?

Wise people strive to lighten the burdens of others, even if it’s through a simple act of kindness or a few words of encouragement. 

In the end, in a world that can often seem cold and indifferent, choosing empathy and compassion is not just commendable; it’s profoundly wise.

7) You’re not afraid to say “I don’t know”

There was a time when I would dread the prospect of not knowing something.

You see, I would pretend to know things to avoid appearing ignorant.

But over time, I’ve come to realize that admitting “I don’t know” is not a sign of weakness, but of wisdom.

Wise people understand that they can’t know everything.

But the truth is they’re not threatened by the unknown or afraid to ask questions.

Instead, they see it as an opportunity to expand their knowledge and understanding.

Acknowledging what you don’t know shows humility and a genuine desire for learning.

It’s about being honest with yourself and others, which is a key aspect of wisdom.

So, the next time you’re unsure about something, don’t be shy to say “I don’t know”.

8) You value meaningful relationships

Let’s be honest, in the grand scheme of life, it’s not the material possessions or accolades that truly matter, but the relationships we build and nurture.

Well, wise people understand this deeply.

Here’s how they do it:

They prioritize genuine connections over superficial ones and invest their time and energy in building meaningful relationships.

They’ll admit they are not interested in playing social games or keeping up appearances.

Instead, they value:

  • Authenticity
  • Mutual respect
  • Shared growth

After all, understanding the value of deep, meaningful connections is a testament to one’s wisdom and maturity.

9) You understand that wisdom is a journey, not a destination

Wisdom isn’t a trophy to be won or a box to be checked. It’s a lifelong journey of learning, growing, and evolving.

If you understand this – if you know that being wise means continually seeking knowledge, questioning your assumptions, learning from your mistakes, and striving to be better – then you’re already walking the path of wisdom.

Let’s recap:

Wisdom is about being real, being humble, and being open to the endless possibilities for growth and evolution.

In this understanding lies the greatest wisdom of all.

Final thoughts

As you may know by now, wisdom isn’t just about big moments or deep thoughts.

It’s really in the simple, everyday stuff.

We all have a bit of wisdom in us, though we might not always see it. It shows up in how we listen, understand others, learn from our slip-ups, and deal with the unknown.

Psychology tells us wisdom isn’t a place you reach. It’s more like a road you keep traveling – learning, finding out new stuff about yourself, and getting better at being you.

Picture of Lucas Graham

Lucas Graham

Lucas Graham, based in Auckland, writes about the psychology behind everyday decisions and life choices. His perspective is grounded in the belief that understanding oneself is the key to better decision-making. Lucas’s articles are a mix of personal anecdotes and observations, offering readers relatable and down-to-earth advice.

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