Types of Wisdom

Decision Making

I consider decision making under the category of “street smart.” This is because I have met people that can perform very well in the classroom, but are horrible at making simple decisions like what to eat for lunch or what clothes to wear. Decision making is basically weighing all the pros and cons from information you know to make the best possible choice. For example, let’s say you go to lunch at a new restaurant and are deciding what to order. You prefer steak over chicken. However, at the past 10 restaurants you’ve been to, only 1 out of 10 cook steak how you like it. Therefore, since this is a new resturant, and you don’t know how they cook, you order the chicken.

Another part of decision making is trying to gain new information to help make a better decision. In the Bible, King Solomon shows us a perfect example of this:

1 Kings 3:24-27 – And the king said, Bring me a sword. So a sword was brought before the king. And the king said, Divide the living child in two, and give half to the one and half to the other. Then the woman whose son was alive said to the king, because her heart yearned for her son, Oh my lord, give her the living child, and by no means put him to death. But the other said, He shall be neither mine nor yours; divide him. Then the king answered and said, Give the living child to the first woman, and by no means put him to death; she is his mother. (ESV)

In this story, two prostitutes gave birth to two sons within three days. However, one woman accidently killed her son by laying on him at night. So the two women come to Solomon, both claiming the remaining baby is theirs. Solomon needs to make a decision in this scenario. However, he doesn’t have enough information. Therefore, he tells the woman that he is going to kill the baby, just to see how they react. The first woman says that the second woman can have the baby, because she doesn’t want the baby to die. The second woman tells Solomon he can go ahead and kill the baby so that neither will have it. From these reactions, Solomon can easily tell that the first woman is the real mother.

Crisis Management

Crisis management is the process of dealing with a threat in a way that minimizes its damage. Examples of threats include natural disasters, confrontation, violence, terrorist attacks, and medical emergencies. A person with good crisis management can remain calm and make decisions in high pressure situations. Experience can help, but often times no two situations are the same, and therefore, you need to adapt.

One example is emergency medicine. When assessing an unknown patient that comes into the emergency room, a physician will check three things: airway, breathing, and circulation. Note that this is more advanced than CPR. Firstly, a physician will check to make sure the patient’s airway is clear. This means from the patient’s mouth and nose, through the pharynx, into the lungs. Next, the physician will check if the patient is breathing. A healthy patient will have equal chest rise and fall between 12 and 20 breaths per minute. Finally is circulation. This can be done by checking the pulse and auscultating the heart. The normal heart rate is 60 to 100 beats per minute.

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