He sits on a bench down by the lake and offers wisdom for 25 cents. He is not getting rich off this undertaking but men’s coach and pioneer of The Mankind Project, Craig Bloomstrand (aka Snake), enjoys wisdom benchconnecting with others.

His definition of wisdom?

Learning from experience and using that knowledge to shape the future for the good of all.

According to Snake, the key portion of that definition is, for the good of all. Without it it’s just knowledge — and knowledge is everywhere. Google and Wikipedia are full of knowledge.

Do you really think that’s wise? 

For a long time I gathered knowledge. I studied diligently in school. I listened intently to those who spoke of worldly matters like corporate strategies, politics and financials. I read extensively. I learned how to play the role of wife and mother. I gained knowledge  and experience but quite often I felt empty.

Valuing the real you

The question, What am I good at?, appeared like a bat signal in my mind (sadly ending in a preposition;) as my pile of experiences created an existence where I felt weak and undervalued. I had built a life based on competition, family first and measured intelligence. Enjoying and excelling at all of those is our culture’s ideal. My real self is sensitive, solitude-craving and more comfortable with feelings and intuition than data recollection. Our culture says, Good luck with those traits chump. You won’t make any money and your voice will be drowned out by the more resistant and logical.thumbsup

I’ve witnessed kids and adults struggle to measure up to our culture’s ideal. I know kids who think they are broken because they don’t fit in at public schools. I know adults who walk a fine line between exhausted and depressed because they constantly go against their true nature.

Introverts who process deeply and require low stimulation in order to recharge, often feel ashamed that they can’t keep up with their Energizer-bunny contemporaries. We push ourselves to be gregarious movers and shakers or we honor our personalities and stay more in the shadows. The former is unnatural (but we do it for core personal projects or missions), the latter, counter-cultural.

So great, I have self-awareness and knowledge of the introvert experience but something is still missing.

Simple guidance from Deepak Chopra

deepakWell known spiritual author and alternative medicine practitioner, Deepak Chopra, told his own children to figure out what their unique talent is and use it to benefit humanity. That’s it. That’s all they needed to do in order to be successful.

My big picture brain loves the simplicity of those guidelines. That’s my kind of wisdom.

I believe the pursuit of knowledge and your unique gift is a lifelong process. We will never have all the answers. In fact, the most wise souls recognize that I don’t know is often the most true and correct answer. No matter, use your not-totally-perfected gift and not-yet-complete book of knowledge to benefit humanity anyway. This is what we are meant to do.

What do you have to offer? Where do you excel?

Over the last five or six years I have deeply examined the knowledge and experiences I have gathered. I’ve wondered about their purpose. Wondered about my purpose.

I have a deep interest in championing others, especially the perceived underdog. Introverts often feel like underdogs. I see potential in others and underdoghelp them see it too. I recently pointed out to a friend that he would be great in local government. The idea had been tickling the back of his mind for a while but he didn’t feel comfortable bringing it to the forefront. Most of us need other’s affirmation in order to sincerely believe in our competence. I use intuition to ferret out other’s strengths.

I strive to be non-judgmental. I have spent years living, loving and working with people with dramatically different temperaments than my own. I have learned through mistakes, loss and perseverance to appreciate personality differences. I want to help others build healthy and fulfilling relationships by doing the same.

I’m certain the reason I love Snake’s definition of wisdom is because it includes for the good of all. Because I naturally seek harmony, for the good of all is home to me. It’s where I excel. Do you?

What do you have to offer? Do you ever feel your gifts are undervalued? Do you value emotional intelligence as much as intellectual intelligence?

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