All of us have faced trials and terrible moments in life, and the majority of us believe that those experiences have taught us something. In contrast, few people genuinely develop wisdom throughout their lifetimes; instead, the majority of us end up becoming (or continuing to be) well-adapted, content, or even resentful or miserable.
Why do some people, but not others, develop wisdom over time by taking lessons from their trials in life (Linley & Joseph, 2004)? According to the MORE Life Experience Model (Glück & Bluck, 2013), a person’s psychological resources have a significant impact on how they view life challenges, how they respond to them, and how they eventually incorporate them into their life story. Life challenges are thought to be catalysts for the development of wisdom.
We suggested five resources as crucial for the development of wisdom, based on the literature on wisdom and growth from adversity: mastery, openness, reflectivity, and emotion regulation including empathy, or MORE. We have tested the model’s predictions empirically for the first time since it was proposed.
In order to further develop and deepen the MORE Life Experience Model, we incorporate our expected and unexpected discoveries, which are described in this work. The theoretical and empirical context of the original model is first described.
The major setting in which wisdom manifests in life, as well as the prerequisite for wisdom’s ongoing development, are events that test a person’s beliefs and worldviews. Our first hypothesis was that, (a) the primary life environment in which wisdom develops, and (b) necessary for the ongoing growth of wisdom, are events that test a person’s beliefs and worldviews.