A wise king knows what he knows and what he doesn’t. A wise young king listens to his counselors and heeds their advice until he comes of age. And the wisest kings continue to listen to them long afterwards.
– Tywin Lannister
I’ve been watching the reruns of the Game of Thrones recently and I saw this scene which is one of my favorite scenes from the show. In the scene Tywin Lannister in explains to his grandson Tommen, heir to Joffrey’s throne, the quality that makes a good king:
Tywin Lannister: What makes a good king? What is a good king’s single most important quality?
Tommen Baratheon: Holiness?
Tywin: Baelor the Blessed was holy. And pious. He built this sept. He also named a six-year-old boy High Septon because he thought the boy could work miracles. He ended up fasting himself into an early grave because “food was of this world, and this world was sinful.”
Tywin: A good king must be just. Orys the First was just. Everyone applauded his reforms, nobles and commoners alike. He was murdered in his sleep after less than a year, by his own brother. Was that truly just of him, to abandon his subjects to an evil he was too gullible to recognize?
Tommen: No. … What about strength?
Tywin: Yes. Strength. King Robert was strong. He won the rebellion and crushed the
Targaryen Dynasty and he attended three small council meetings in seventeen years. He spent his time whoring and hunting and drinking until the last two killed him. So, we have a man who starves himself to death; a man who lets his own brother murder him; and a man who thinks that winning and ruling are the same thing. What do they all lack?
Tommen: Wisdom is what makes a good king.
Tywin: But what is wisdom? Hmm? A house with great wealth and fertile lands asks you for your protection against another house with a strong navy that could one day oppose you. How do you know which choice is wise and which isn’t? You’ve any experience of treasuries and granaries or shipyards and soldiers?
Tywin: No. Of course not. A wise king knows what he knows and what he doesn’t. You’re young. A wise young king listens to his counselors and heeds their advice until he comes of age. And the wisest kings continue to listen to them long afterwards.
Wisdom is making good decisions with the knowledge you have. If we can’t make good decisions under difficult situations then strength is useless.
WISDOM VS. KNOWLEDGE
Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is knowing not to put it in a fruit salad.
– Brian O’Driscoll
Wisdom is also knowing what you know and what you don’t know. It is necessary to see the limitations of your knowledge. It is ok to say “I don’t know”. No matter how much knowledge you think you have it is always wise to surround yourself with people who are experts in their chosen fields. The best leaders surround themselves with the smartest and best people in their industry.