It’s an assumption that the older one gets, the wiser one gets. Wisdom has been defined as “the quality knowledge of what is true or right coupled with just judgment as to action.” This means that when we are faced with a threat, we can find comfort in knowing that this is isn’t our first rodeo. Wisdom is a quiet sort of self-assurance that comes from being in the zone.
In chess, the game plan is called a gambit. The gambit is an historically successful plan of action initiated by a given set of circumstances. It is fluid and can be changed in a heartbeat depending on what occurs.
Suppose that one is a boxer. Whenever the opponent launched an aggressive move, we would defend and counterattack. A good gambit for a jab would be a sidestep and counterpunch. A jab is hard to defend against because it comes straight at you.
Let’s suppose defending from a jab was your weakest boxing skill. Let’s also suppose that your opponent’s best skill was the jab. You would clearly be at risk. Wisdom would include not placing yourself in a position to be hit by a jab, moving constantly, ducking and weaving.
There are events in our lives that are like pugilistic bouts. We have a plan, we have experience, and we know what we don’t know. Keeping all that in focus does not guarantee our safety, security, and happiness. There will be times when despite our best plans and preparation, some punches will get through.
I used to wonder why Super Bowl champion teams would change anything and just go with what they had the previous year. Then I realized that nothing stays the same, and in order for success to be realized, one has to constantly reevaluate. One has to be open to the probability that their road-proven gambits may not work the next time, particularly if one fails to appreciate the differences in the challenges we face. Even when things are humming along just fine, there must be eternal attention paid to change. The wisdom is to be aware; the gambit is to react appropriately.
Richard E. Draper, a double board-certified emergency medicine physician, blogger, and speaker, and practices in the Kaleidoscope Weekly distribution area. The Healer’s Heart is based on his perceptions and observations of his experiences in the ER over his career. Any similarities to actual patients are purely coincidental.