I love a book that reminds us of what we already know in our heart but delivers these gentle reminders in a way that is so profoundly different that it’s fresh and new. Seek to Be Wise by Chess Britt is one of those books.
It’s a success book, in my purview, and though its prose is very personal and subjective, it’s highly relatable.
Britt, who’s the former chief marketing officer for Primerica, shares how we can find answers to life’s many questions by opening our eyes and looking deeper into the lessons presented to us each day. He presents his philosophical musings in the format of maxims that he’s collected from family, friends, mentors and even movies. Each collection of maxims challenges the readers to think differently about what we think we may already know. Rather, being wise to the fact that we are not all-knowing opens awareness of our behaviors and how the challenges we are facing may present opportunities hidden within. That makes this read incredibly timely, as we are all facing uncertainty so turning to sage wisdom may just be the path forward.
He begins the book by explaining the power of wisdom and how it’s there for the taking for all who seek it. Instead of clinging to a stalwart set of beliefs or limited perspectives, happiness and success will flow when you open your mind to other viewpoints, possibilities and yes, look up and “connect with a power outside of yourself.” With wisdom comes strength, courage, energy and enthusiasm he shares, and when we’re on the path of wisdom we are on the path to becoming a better version of ourselves.
Take the age old obstacle of excuses. Britt reflects on how his mother’s little tolerance for excuses has given him the courage to act. “You can make excuses, or you can get results, but you can’t do both,” is one of his favorite quotes. And as with all of the chapters, he presents questions for you to ponder about your own set of excuses in relation to achieving what you want in life.
Many of his maxims resonated with me, especially “keep your word and be bold.”
In Britt’s words, “Most things we fear are paper tigers that won’t hurt anything but our pride.” When you put yourself out in the world as a professional—and a human being—you open your soul to others and that is an incredibly vulnerable position to be in. You may get in your head and look for reasons to hold yourself back from opportunities. But this is not a wise course of action. Rather, people who are guided by wisdom are those who not only keep their word but have the courage to take bold action when needed.
The maxims, or principles, that he suggests as a divining rod for wisdom are simple and yet powerful.
As you prioritize success in life and in your profession, think about what makes you unique and what creates sustainable and powerful relationships. If you were to make a list of those character behaviors, habits and principles, you’d probably find them in Seek to Be Wise. It’s a short read, but an impactful one. And I promise it’s one that you’ll return to time and time again for simple wisdom for navigating life’s challenges.
Image Courtesy of Greenleaf Book Group