Essential Walk #8: Wisdom and Introspection

Thoughts on Excellence Free E-Newsletter Series
Volume 22, Issue No. 6a
February 1, 2024

By Dan Coughlin


Wisdom and Introspection

For this Essential Walk, I’m going to step aside from focusing on the content of a healthy essence, of healthy thoughts, emotions, and will, and instead I’m going to focus once again on the process of gaining a healthy essence. Specifically, I’m going to focus on wisdom and introspection.

When I think of wisdom I see it as the perspectives you have developed over your lifetime.

Of course, what one person thinks is wise may be different than what another person thinks, but I’m not here to rank wisdom or to say which wisdom is better than another. Rather I just want to focus on the idea that you develop your wisdom, your perspectives, bit by bit through your reflection, experiences, conversations, books, podcasts, discernment, and so on.

In MWD (Merriam-Webster Dictionary) introspection is defined as a reflective looking inward: an examination of one’s own thoughts and feelings.

By investing time on introspection, you examine your thoughts, emotions, and will. Then you can determine if they are what you want to have or if you want to have something else. If you decide that these are the thoughts, emotions, and will that you want to keep, you can then determine if you want to make them even stronger than they are right now.

Accumulate and Apply Your Wisdom to Strengthen Your Essence

And so here is the process…

When you read something or hear something or experience something, consider whether you want that as part of your perspective on a topic or whether you don’t want to add that to your mix. Little by little, day by day, choice by choice, and essential walk by essential walk, you will hone your wisdom.

This can be done at any age and for your entire life. Don’t just accept what you hear and see from others. Really discern whether you want that insight to be a part of your on-going perspective. To me, this is what maturing as a person is all about. These subtle additions, reinforcements, and subtractions from your wisdom are all part of the process of your maturing in terms of your wisdom.

And then this continually improving wisdom affects your thoughts, emotions, and will. As your wisdom improves so does the health of your essence. And that affects your words and actions, which have an impact on your personal and professional lives.

Invest the Time in Introspection

This improvement in your wisdom that comes from introspection is exactly why I am such a strong believer in the importance of going on Essential Walks. If you don’t ever take the time to really sift through your experiences, conversations, and input from other people, then how will you determine the perspectives, the wisdom, that you want guiding your life. Without these Essential Walks, you will be turning over to other people the incredibly important responsibility of determining your wisdom. I don’t think that’s a good trade-off.

Yes, it does require time and effort on your part to go on Essential Walks. However, that time and effort pale in comparison to you having strengthened your own wisdom and, by applying your wisdom, your essence.

Republishing Articles

My newsletters, Thoughts on Excellence, have been republished in approximately 40 trade magazines, on-line publications, and internal publications for businesses, universities, and not-for-profit organizations over the past 20+ years. If you would like to republish all or part of my monthly articles, please send me an e-mail at with the name of the article you want in the subject heading. I will send you the article in a word document.

Back to Newsletter Page