Breakfast Recap: How To Pursue Wisdom

August 8, 2017 | Posted By: Connor Watkins

  • Members filled the room for Tuesday morning’s breakfast, sponsored by Baker Collision Express, to hear some wisdom dropped by Todd Carnes, town councilman and general manager of SouthernMed.

    Einstein said, “Wisdom is not a product of schooling, but of a lifelong attempt to acquire it.” Todd Carnes said it this way, “Wisdom cannot be taught, it is rarely absorbed but it is something that you learn through experience.” Throughout life, wisdom is a word that gets thrown around a lot, but it is not often pursued because it is usually not the most urgent item on the agenda. Wisdom doesn’t pay the bills, so in many cases the pursuit of wisdom gets put on the back burner and stays there while people pursue success. Success is urgent. Wisdom is important. But Carnes warned that "success without wisdom is a dangerous force.”

    So, how do you pursue both wisdom and success? Todd Carnes offered three ways, although he prefaced this by saying he was not wise enough to say these things.

    First, fight arrogance. It is the number one enemy of wisdom. Success and arrogance go hand in hand, but we must fight against it. Arrogance is always a teacher and never a learner.

    Second, stay in a posture of humility. Humility attracts wisdom, arrogance repels it. Our culture is in love with arrogant leaders, though we call it “self-confidence”. Some equate humility with weakness but humility is not weak or passive, it is just a really good listener.

    Third, put yourself in the company of really wise people. Solomon, as man known for his wisdom put it this way in Proverbs 13:20, “Walk with the wise and become wise; associate with fools and get in trouble.” Remember; don’t just pursue the people who are exceptionally successful. Make sure you also pursue those who are exceptionally wise.

    Carnes shared a commencement speech written by Chief Justice John Roberts, which you can read here. Chief Justice Roberts urged his audience to seek the good in the bad, understanding that each experience brings wisdom if we know how to look for it. If we allow our “so-called” failures to teach us, we can see them for what they truly are- blessings in disguise.

    Carnes wrapped up by wishing us all a few “blessings” of our own. “I wish you just enough poverty to allow you to enjoy riches without being consumed by them," he said. "I wish you just enough failure to allow you to embrace humility when success comes. I wish for you just enough anxiety in your pursuit of success to provide you with continual compassion for those hustling just below the threshold of success. I wish for you just enough time laboring under the ‘sizzle’ of poor leadership to allow you to value the honest truths of a wise leader.”

    So, as leaders in our community, we should bear the burden of wisdom along with the burden of success. We should put away arrogance and embrace humility. We should lift each other up and value the wisdom of others, because only then can we truly be wise.

    The next breakfast meeting will be Tuesday, September 12 at 7:30 a.m. at RADIUS Church. See all Chamber events.