Wonder Words…Wisdom, Skill & Virtue


To achieve our aims in life – our goals, or aspirations even, a process has to occur – even though we may not be aware of it. What makes up this process is three key steps – wisdom, skill & virtue; now, you may call them something else, but the impact of them is the same.

Probably the best way I have seen to capture the ‘juice’ of this powerful process is in the words of American educator & peace activist David Starr Jordan, which state:

” Wisdom is knowing what to do next – skill is knowing how to do it – virtue is doing it ” David Starr Jordan

In essence, once we have the ‘what’ & the ‘how’, all that remains is for us to act with integrity & virtuosity & simply doing what we need to do. Indeed, in the modern works of Positive Psychology, Martin Seligman & Chris Peterson identified six key cross-cultural virtues after a three year study, and a the particular one that caught my attention was courage; dragon-slaying aside, courage in it’s simplest form can just be taking action – especially when the outcome is unsure & comes without guarantee.

Now, as a Success Coach, I am aware that this may seem elementary for you & perhaps too simple to be of consideration, but I will leave you wish a question – When you think back to the times when you achieved great things, can you not recall which virtue ‘happened’ to show up around the same time…? ¬†Hmmm….I’d wager that courage is in there somewhere.

After all, success leaves us clues….so why not pay attention for them, & when the time comes again when you have the ‘what’ & the ‘how’, take a deep breath & go do what you need to do, then realise that after all you have an untapped resource within you – virtue.

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