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Socrates once said that the unexamined life is not worth living. To examine your life means getting to know yourself and the world around you better, and hence growing and becoming wiser, reaching to higher states of consciousness and evolving into the best version of yourself.

Highly intelligent people are always in a constant search for wisdom, and to them nothing can be more important than that — they find that life without wisdom is meaningless and utterly empty. But how can one be wise?

Below are five “secrets” that can function as a guide in your journey to wisdom, and might completely change the direction of your life, in a tremendously positive way.

1. Doubt tradition.

The first secret on how to be wise is to doubt the beliefs that have been handed down to you by tradition. Any ideology — whether religious, philosophical, political, and so on — that doesn’t sprout from your own understanding should be honestly questioned and scrutinized — if not, your ideologies will only help to keep you imprisoned in blind faith and ignorance.

2. Seek knowledge from anywhere you can.

After you have doubted your beliefs, start your journey to knowledge. Seek to learn from anywhere you can, whether that is books, documentaries or anything that you find helpful — but always remember to think intelligently for yourself and be open to change.

3. Apply your knowledge.

Knowledge becomes wisdom only once applied, otherwise it is just an unnecessary burden. Many people boast about their knowledge and they preach a lot, but they don’t practice what they preach. If you want to be honest with yourself and others, seek to embody your knowledge and express your values and ideas by your very way of living.

4. Learn from your mistakes

Once you apply your knowledge, it’s very likely that you’ll find out that you’ve made mistakes. Society has conditioned us to believe that making mistakes is something bad that we need to keep away from, but highly intelligent people have realized that making mistakes is exactly what is helping us to become wise, by showing us which are the wrong paths to avoid in life, and which direction to take in order to overcome the obstacles that are hindering our way.

5. Let go of the past

No matter how many mistakes you’ve made in the past and how many times you’ve failed, what lies in the here and now is what is most important. Nobody is perfect, and failure is a necessary part of life. So learn from your past but don’t be attached to it — always move forward, without regrets. Learning to let go of the past will allow you to evolve into something better out of yourself and adapt to new circumstances, without being held back by mental and emotional constraints.

Life’s journey is short, and so you should make sure to get the most out of it, otherwise you will finish it being filled with regrets, not having experienced the gifts that existence has open-handedly offered you.

To live fully is risky, however, and you need to be courageous enough to expose yourself to possible dangers that you might confront along your way.

Two seeds lay side by side in the fertile soil.

The first seed said, “I want to grow! I want to send my roots deep into the soil beneath me, and thrust my sprouts through the earth’s crust above me … I want to unfurl my tender buds like banners to announce the arrival of spring … I want to feel the warmth of the sun on my face and the blessing of the morning dew on my petals!”

And so she grew…

The second seed said, “Hmmmm. If I send my roots into the ground below, I don’t know what I will encounter in the dark. If I push my way through the hard soil above me I may damage my delicate sprouts … what if I let my buds open and a snail tries to eat them? And if I were to open my blossoms, a small child may pull me from the ground. No, it is much better for me to wait until it is safe.”

And so she waited…until a yard hen scratching around in the early spring ground for food found the waiting seed and promptly ate it. [1]

The fear of danger is what keeps people from pursing an active, passionate life — hence they are not truly living but just surviving. But to just survive is close to being dead, and what is the point of playing dead before you’ve actually died? You will die anyway, sooner or later, so choose to live fully and intensely, savoring every single moment, before it’s too late.

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Socrates once said that the unexamined life is not worth living. To examine your life means getting to know yourself and the world around you better, and hence growing and becoming wiser, reaching to higher states of consciousness and evolving into the best version of yourself. Highly intelligent people are always in...