Do you have Knowledge, or Wisdom?
The other day I saw a slogan on the side of a truck, which said: "Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is knowing not to put it in a fruit salad." My immediate reaction was amusement, I might have even laughed out loud. Then I thought about it and realised how profound it was. And how relevant it is to us, as members of this "knowledge" economy.
A knowledge economy and the businesses within it, will not thrive on knowledge alone. The difference between having knowledge and having wisdom could mean failure or success. Plenty of people have knowledge, but they are not successful in life. So, what is wisdom?
Wisdom is knowing how to apply your knowledge to any given situation, in the appropriate way.
How do you get wisdom?
You cannot get it from reading a book. You get knowledge this way, but not wisdom.
Many people try the trial and error approach. You usually learn from your mistakes, over time.
But how many mistakes are made? And how do those mistakes impact on your life, your career and your well-being? Plus, how long does it take to learn how to get it right? There are many ways of getting it wrong.
Some people are fortunate to have really good teachers. At home, at school, at work - people that show them how, coach them step by step using real life examples.
Some people reach out and get the coaching they need, and this can make a big difference.
Whichever way you start your journey to using your knowledge in a successful way - the most important step is accepting that knowledge alone is not enough. Wisdom, or learning to apply your knowledge in the real world, with real human beings, takes practice.
You can learn all about driving a car from a book, or sit beside someone as a passenger and watch them drive. But until you get behind the wheel and take charge of doing it, you are not really learning the wisdom it takes to be a successful driver. A good coach sitting beside you and coaching you as you learn will help you enormously. It can be a bit scary at first, and you will make mistakes. Perseverance helps. But you will master it and it will become second nature.
Practice is the only way to get wise!
The same thing applies to our technical knowledge. The same thing applies to our communication skills. Once you learn new skills, the best time to practice them is immediately! While the lessons are still fresh in your mind, apply the knowledge. Reflect on your performance and learn how to do it better next time.
We all know heaps of stuff
In our info-loaded world, everyone can be a "knowledge expert" in just about any field - because they read about it online! But a so-called "knowledge expert" cannot help you gain wisdom. The only person that can help you gain wisdom is someone who has hands on experience in applying that knowledge. They can help you with the "how".
Knowing the theory does not help you succeed. Having experience in how to use the theory correctly, will help you succeed.
If something scares you, do it again
When you are learning to apply new skills, it is normal to feel a little bit out of your depth, a bit unsure. Scared. Feeling scared is a sign that you need more practice! Seek out opportunities to do things that scare you. Making mistakes is OK and will help you learn. If you don't try out the things you have learned, you will forget them and never have the courage to try. If you practice the new things you learn, make mistakes and do it again - you will learn wisdom.
Avoiding the things you are not good at will not help you get better at doing them!
What improvements do you need to make?
Chances are, you already know what is holding you back from success. Do you need confidence in presenting your ideas to a group? Do you need confidence in having telephone conversations with people you don't know? What scares you? Don't wait for this wisdom to somehow get into your brain by osmosis - it won't happen if you do nothing!
Make a plan to get the help you need, someone to coach you in the areas you are not confident in. And then make a commitment to practice! Don't be afraid of making mistakes. Nobody learned to ski or ride a bike or play the guitar without making some mistakes along the way. Just do it!
Success With Grace is home of the TechBiz Success Academy, coaching and training to help technology based businesses grow. For information about TechBiz programs go to www.techbizsuccess.com Also check out Business Communication and Customer Communication workshops in www.iitp.nz/courses/
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