Practical Wisdom

“Practical wisdom is the moral will to do the right thing and the moral skill to figure out what the right thing is.”

Yesterday I watched Barry Schwartz’s TED video where he talks about “Using our practical wisdom.” Here’s the description from the TED website: In an intimate talk, Barry Schwartz dives into the question “How do we do the right thing?” With help from collaborator Kenneth Sharpe, he shares stories that illustrate the difference between following the rules and truly choosing wisely.

One of my favorite lines from this video is, “”Dealing with other people demands a kind of flexibility that no set of rules can encompass.” He talks mostly about mandatory criminal sentencing guidelines, but I think the idea can be translated to just about anything.

He says that “people want to be allowed to be virtuous” but sometimes “rules demoralize professional activity.” Thinking back on some of the jobs I’ve had, I know this last statement is true.

“We need virtue. We need character.” I’d love to hear what you think. Leave your comments below!

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