Is There Inner Wisdom In Holding On To Tradition?

Posted by & filed under Darren L. Johnson, letting go, living in the present, wisdom of the past, World traditions.

Is there wisdom that can be found within tradition? This question is key to modern day cultures and their ability to transform themselves for success in the future.

To delve deeper in to this topic, we must first define what is tradition. By many sources, tradition refers to beliefs, objects or customs performed or believed in – in the past – originating in it, transmitted through time by being taught by one generation to the next, and performed or believed in the present.

The assumption is that there is actually wisdom to be found in the beliefs, objects, or customs performed or believed – that originated from the past.

It seems as though tradition can be somewhat of a double-edged sword. Old traditions, while creating a stable foundation from which to function, don’t take in to account the current changing times. It also seems that those who hold firm to old traditions, don’t grow – personally or professionally. In business, one case in point is the recent bankruptcy of General Motors (GM). That company was brought to its knees because it was not able to transition away from its own “traditional manufacturing standards” of the past. Though it took years for it to manifest, the slow crumbling of the company actually began in the early 80’s with the slow loss of market share to the Japanese auto manufacturers.

Though there was wisdom in the old traditions and philosophies of automotive manufacturing, the wisdom to transform was not prevalent among GM leadership; nor was the wisdom passed down from one generation of management to the next.

This is but one of thousands of examples of how not finding balance between the application of the inner wisdom of tradition and the ability to transform to meet the current day needs can lead to ones demise.

So what is the answer to the question – Is there inner wisdom in tradition? Absolutely!

Do we need to understand how to transform ourselves (or our businesses) in order to maintain ourselves in present day times? Absolutely!

Being able to let go of the old traditional methods, while holding on to the wisdom, is one key. By all means, keep traditional beliefs close to your heart and apply the wisdom of yesterday – but live in the now. The great philosophers of the past, who were instrumental in creating the old traditions we hold so close to our heats, lived and practiced according to the signs of their times – back then. We must be able to do the same.

One day, our children’s children will have a choice to live according to the traditions and wisdom we are creating in this present day. Would you want them to live by your traditions – or – evolve to survive in their present day? Think about it.

Don’t allow old traditions to become permanent mental scripts for managing your life in the present. Reason: you will not be able to transform your self to think differently and be better as you grow with age and maturity.

Darren L Johnson is the nation’s leading expert on Letting Go of Stuff® and is the author of the book Letting Go of Stuff. As an Albuquerque business coach, Darren takes his clients on a journey that manifests in the growth of their business on many levels. Darren’s website is


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Andrew Cort

Andrew Cort says:

Thanks for the post, Darren. Yes, it’s always a balance between the old and the new, remembering not to cling blindly to the past and remembering not to throw out the baby with the bathwater.