If you spent the last holidays with your folks and questioned their wisdom, you’re not alone! In a spark of defiance against popular belief, Dr Judith Glück of the University of Klagenfurt, Austria, boldly declares that age doesn’t necessarily confer wisdom. In her paper for the Current Opinion in Psychology, she argues, “Getting older doesn’t automatically make you a sage. It’s life experiences that do the trick, and those are not exclusive to the elderly.”
Dr Glück suggests that our journey towards wisdom depends on personal encounters and various internal and external resources. She identifies the key ingredients for wisdom as compassion, self-transcendence (a fancy term for seeing beyond oneself), and the ability to navigate life’s little speed bumps.
But remember, just like your smartphone, wisdom may come with a ‘best before’ date. It could decline as we age, particularly when it comes to handling complex issues or staying cool under pressure. And we’ve all seen grandpa losing it over the TV remote, only to find he’s been wrestling with the air conditioner’s control.
But fear not, senior folks! It’s not all doom and gloom. A 2013 study from the University of California has your back. Dr Ye Li found that age does have its benefits. The study suggests that a lifetime of decision-making provides a wealth of knowledge which helps offset the declining ability to absorb new information.
So, it’s not necessarily about age, it’s all about the mileage!