The Wisdom of Socrates - and Sergeant Schultz

Sergeant Shultz was the bumbling but likeable prison guard in the Hogan’s Heroes TV series, while Socrates was said to be the wisest person of his time (Greece around 400BC).

What could they possibly have had in common?

They both lived by the same mantra:

“I know nothing.”

Schultz used it to cover his arse and try to stay out of trouble, but Socrates?

The fact that we know about him more than 2000 years after his death suggests there was some truth to the claim that he was the wisest of them all.

So what was his secret?

A truly open mind!

A mind that was receptive, primed to inquire and keen to learn. Always looking beyond the obvious and beneath the surface. Using logic and reason to challenge assumptions. Unaccepting of fixed thinking or dogma, especially when passed off as truth.

Socrates’ greatest fear was of falling for the trap of thinking he “knew” something when he was in error.

We can’t, and probably shouldn’t, all be like Socrates, but we could all do with a little more Wisdom.

So who do you consider to be wise? (Not clever, wise).

Is it the ones who seem to know it all and have all the answers? Or those who ask great questions, listen well and have that special kind of intellectual flexibility that adapts to any situation?

For the next week or so, practice asking more questions. Sincere ones aimed at getting to a better answer, not just the most convenient one.

And make sure you listen sincerely to the responses as well. 

See what happens.

Warning! This is NOT to be used as an excuse for indecisiveness or avoiding responsibility, but for enhancing thinking and growing wisdom.