Seven Tips to Help You Act Wisely

Wisdom consists of many elements. Philosophers have been concerned with this quality for centuries. However, what can we say today about being wise?
Seven Tips to Help You Act Wisely
Valeria Sabater

Written and verified by the psychologist Valeria Sabater.

Last update: 16 January, 2024

To act wisely, it isn’t necessary to possess an extremely high intelligence quotient (IQ). On the other hand, it’s essential to demonstrate a certain tendency to good sense and kindness. As Socrates said, wisdom starts from the recognition of one’s own ignorance and the impossibility of absolute knowledge.

If you were to ask yourself what psychological competence allows you to better respond to a world in crisis, one that’s uncertain and changing, acting wisely would be a good answer. Traditionally, philosophy and religion have been the fields to venture into this terrain. However, over the last 20 years, psychology has also shown a particular interest in the subject.

The University of Illinois (USA) and the University of Klagenfurt (Austria) have been investigating wise behavior in everyday life. Their working hypothesis was that wise behavior is especially important at the most challenging moments. Therefore, it’s worth understanding how to awaken and develop the wonderful tool of wisdom.

“The ignorant man pronounces, the wise man doubts and reflects.”


Girl you want to act wise
Wise people have more open minds and are oriented toward goodness and ethical principles.

How to act wisely

Wisdom is defined as the ability to make sound decisions. At the same time, it helps you to help others. Therefore, it not only contains a sense of efficiency but also a component that appeals to your ability to inspire.

According to Glück and Weststrate (2022), authors of the aforementioned research, wise behavior is characterized by:

  • The ability to solve problems in the short term. It involves addressing difficulties before they become much greater.
  • The generation of a greater good (supporting and helping friends, family, acquaintances, and strangers, etc.).
  • The ability to know what’s right in each circumstance. However, this sometimes implies obtaining a lower profit.

Although we’ve spent centuries trying to understand wisdom from a spiritual perspective, such as that of Buddhism, now it’s time to go a little further. In fact, today, psychology offers concrete keys for learning how to act wisely. They’re as follows:

1. Regulate your emotions

You can’t make a good decision when you’re gripped by anger or frustration. Firstly, you must start to value good management and emotional regulation. Understanding each of your sensations, feelings, and emotions so you can place them in your favor and not against you, is the basis of wise behavior.

2. Be calm and serene

To act wisely, you must develop a relaxed temperament. Indeed, it’s only possible to successfully observe the turmoil of the world if you adopt a calm perspective. Only by being serene will you be able to understand contrary perspectives and opinions. There’s nothing more important in understanding others than knowing what lies behind each and every event and circumstance.

The wise person always acts after having analyzed a situation and having understood each dynamic that shapes that event. This can only be done from a calm and focused mind.

3. Exploratory mindset

Every challenge has more than one solution. In general, those who act wisely are lovers of knowledge and have minds that love to learn and explore new options. This explains why, for every challenge, they propose various solutions.

“The wise man can change his mind; the stubborn one, never.”

-Immanuel Kant-

4. Empathic concern

To act wisely, you must put your personal interests aside. The common good is what matters. After all, there are others in the equation and you must prioritize the achieving of wide-ranging and shared benefits. This differentiates the intelligent from the wise.

Indeed, while the intelligent focus on personal gain, the wise are highly empathetic and sensitive to the needs of others.

5. Ethical behavior

Wise people not only make good decisions but are also always ethical. Moreover, their values are noble and they refuse to cross any boundary into questionable behavior.

6. Metacognitive skills

Wise people possess great metacognitive potential. This means they have great self-control, regulate their own learning, and know how to plan and evaluate information. On the other hand, they combine their considerable knowledge and cognitive resources with humility.

These individuals are simple, open, and always accessible. They have a hopeful attitude and are really determined and inspiring. They’re also capable of making others smile due to their ingenuity and familiarity. In fact, they have a really positive mentality combined with humility and deep knowledge.

Man who wishes to act wisely
To act wisely, we must put selfishness aside and think about the common good.

7. Self-reflection

The wise mind isn’t a product of the simple passage of time, but also of self-reflection. The ability to value each event, and think about your own actions and decisions, allows you to use your own experience and be a teacher to others.

By analyzing what happens to you, you don’t forget that ups and downs, failures, and losses are all part of your daily landscape, just like successes or gains. They’re the events of existence, those that allow you to accumulate knowledge.

In essence, treasuring wisdom requires developing a deeper, more sensitive, and kinder awareness of what surrounds you. So, make sure you try and put the above tips into practice.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Glück J, Weststrate NM. The Wisdom Researchers and the Elephant: An Integrative Model of Wise Behavior. Personality and Social Psychology Review. June 2022. doi:10.1177/10888683221094650

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.