Whenever you read a book, be it a novel, an anthology of poetry, a collection of philosophy, or even a biography, you will invariably come across snatches of wisdom now and then. Writers, artists, philosophers, scientists and poets are bursting with wellsprings of wisdom, and the insights they give us are worth cherishing. Gifted with foresight, these extraordinary people have helped to shape humanity, illuminating our strengths, weaknesses, desires, hopes, dreams and faults. They have taught us how to live and how not to live.

The more wisdom we acquire, the more we can take control of our life. Armed with knowledge, insight and foresight, we are able to live a better life today, making the right decisions.

The great writer Isaac Asimov once said that “the saddest aspect of life right now is that science gathers knowledge faster than society gathers wisdom.” Knowledge is still power. The more knowledge you have, the more power you have. You are able to make better choices, improve your productivity, and cut waste from your life. Let’s take a look at 10 awesome wisdom sayings from around the world.

“By three methods we may learn wisdom; First, by reflection, which is noblest; second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.”

– Confucius

Confucius may have lived and taught over two-thousand years ago, but it’s a testament to the timelessness of wisdom that his thoughts are still abided by today.

When we acquire wisdom, we can either think it through. Does this work for us?

Alternatively, we can imitate someone else’s way of living. As the great man points out, this is easy.

Thirdly, we can live our life and experience for ourselves what works. This is the hardest, but often the most rewarding. After all, it is our experiences that shape and teach us.

“If it is not right, do not do it; if it is not true, do not say it.”

– Marcus Aurelius

Marcus Aurelius was one of history’s first Stoics and a master of restraint. Here he teaches us to keep our emotions bottled up and to refrain from saying or doing harmful things.

Whenever you’re ready to explode in the heat of the moment, walk away. Do not say something which you know will land you in trouble.

“Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom.”

– Thomas Jefferson

If you aren’t honest with people, you’re going to be saddled with guilt. You’ll be burdened and weighed down, knowing full well that you aren’t telling the truth.

Wisdom does not come in a pack of lies; it is not deceitful. Wisdom shines a light on the truth; it shows us the right way and the wrong way, and always leads us to the correct path.

Start with honesty and you won’t stray far from the right hand path. The moment you start telling lies is the moment you leave truth and wisdom behind.

“Every man is a fool for at least five minutes every day; wisdom consists in not exceeding the limit.”

– Elbert Hubbard

How many times have we exceeded the limit? Plenty, no doubt!

We can allow ourselves a few so-called “blonde moments”. After all, to err is human.

But to keep on erring, and to do so without learning from our mistakes and listening to the safe advice of others, is foolishness. Allow yourself time to focus on your weaknesses, but always learn from your mistakes. Read books, watch documentaries. Learn as much as possible so that you never exceed the limit.

“Keep on going and the chances are you will stumble on something, perhaps when you are least expecting it. I have never heard of anyone stumbling on something sitting down.”

– Charles F. Kettering

Ideas and success don’t just come to us – we have to go to them, which means doing. It means being active and it means creating and experimenting.

Steve Jobs was fired by Apple in the late eighties because the executives no longer believed in him and his methods. But he kept on believing and refused to change. Eventually, the company begged him to return once they realised that he was right.

You have to go out there and make things happen.

“There is nothing better than adversity. Every defeat, every heartbreak, every loss contains its own seed, its own lesson on how to improve your performance next time.”

– Og Mandino

Lots of people see failure as a sign that they should just give up. After all, they’ve FAILED!

The wisest people know that failure is simply a chance to learn and grow. It’s a chance to take a look at where you have gone wrong, why you have gone wrong, and how you can improve. You should learn to embrace failures and setbacks. Use the experience to make things better.

“Think like a wise man but express yourself like the common people.”

– Wiliam Butler Yeats

The Irish poet hits the nail on the head here. A complicated though is no use to anyone if nobody can understand it.

Learn to simplify your thoughts so that others can share in your wisdom.

“When you believe in a thing, believe in it all the way, implicitly and unquestioningly.”

– Walt Disney

Walt Disney knew a thing or two about dreams. This is the man responsible for putting oodles of imagination, hope and romance into the lives and imaginations of children all over the world. His animations even captivated adults too. And when he tells you that you should believe in your dreams implicitly and without any questions, you’d better believe it.

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.”

– Lao Tzu

So now that you’ve got your dreams that you believe in unflinchingly, you now need to remember that dreams don’t just happen overnight. They take time and effort. They require resolve, determination, great and a whole lot of time.

Rather than try to take HUGE steps all at once which stress you out and lead to a nervous breakdown, take one step at a time. Take baby steps. Climb the ladder one rung at a time.

“The opinion which other people have of you is their problem, not yours.”

– Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

Everyone’s got an opinion. Unfortunately, lots of people have opinions about you. This is never nice. But rather than let these opinions get you down, simply ignore them and remember that they can’t change who you are. They have no right to change who you are. Continue doing what YOU want to do.